Tag Archives: south africa

South Africa Votes to Confiscate White-owned Land Without Compensation

Cape Town, South Africa— On February 27th, the South Africa parliament voted to launch the process of amending the country’s constitution in order to begin confiscating land from white farmers without compensation.

Reuters reported that the motion was brought by the Marxist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), which controls 6 percent of parliament, and was supported by the ANC, which controls close to two-thirds of the parliament. The Democratic Alliance, Freedom Front Plus, Cope and the African Christian Democratic Party voted against the measure, according to News24. The motion, proposed by Marxist opposition leader Julius Malema, passed by a 241 to 83 vote.

“We must ensure that we restore the dignity of our people without compensating the criminals who stole our land,” Malema said, adding, “It is about our dignity. We do not seek revenge… all that our people ever wanted is their land to which their dignity is rooted and founded.”

While whites are reportedly a minority— roughly 8 percent of the South African population— they still own around seventy-two percent of farmland, according to a 2017 government audit.

The controversial Malema has been steadfast in his commitment to operationalizing this policy, but has previously made contentious statements, such as telling his supporters in 2016 that he was “not calling for the slaughter of white people — at least for now.”

With a general election coming in 2019, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his first national address two weeks ago, appealed to the ANC’s core electoral base, stating that he’d work to hasten the transfer of land from white farmers to black ownership. Polling has indicated that Ramaphosa faces virtually no threat of defeat from opposition parties; however, a News24 report claims that he does face a threat from within his own party if he were to oppose the populist proposal of white land confiscation.

On Tuesday, Ramaphosa said would continue to pursue expropriation of white farmland without compensation, but reiterated that it should be done in a manner that preserves food security and agricultural production.

“The (African National Congress party) unequivocally supports the principle of land expropriation without compensation,” ANC rural affairs minister Gugile Nkwinti said. “There is no doubt about it, land shall be expropriated without compensation.”

With tension rising in the wake of the recent moves toward land expropriation, on Thursday, Ramaphosa said he wants to engage in discussion about land expropriation to avoid panic but aims to resolve the issue of racial disparities in property ownership “once and for all,” Reuters reported.

A similar land expropriation initiative in took place in Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe, who led the country to independence from white minority rule. Prior to the summary land expropriation of white-owned farmland, Zimbabwe was known as the “bread basket” of Southern Africa. Zimbabwe ultimately ended up needing food assistance in the wake of the land grab— with millions of suffering from food shortages.

A report for The Straights Times explained how the expropriation scheme devastated Zimbabwe’s export business:

While the farms were meant to be given to black families, though, many wound up in the hands of Mugabe’s close associates, and within years a large number had fallen fallow because their new owners had no background or interest in farming.

Leader of the Freedom Front Plus party, Pieter Groenewald, warned that uncompensated land confiscation could have “unforeseen consequences that is not in the interest of South Africa.”

Deputy chief executive of civil rights group Afriforum, Ernst Roets, noted that the move toward uncompensated land confiscation violated agreements that were made in the wake of apartheid. “This motion is based on a distorted image of the past,” he said. “The term ‘expropriation without compensation’ is a form of semantic fraud. It is nothing more than racist theft.”

Democracy Alliance member Thandeka Mbabama agreed that the wrongs of colonialism need to be fixed, but said land confiscation without compensation “cannot be part of the solution,” adding that the motion is a political diversion from the ANC’s failures regarding land reform and is a “lie peddled by the ANC, who fears being outflanked on the left by the EFF.”

The motion will be referred to Constitutional Review Committee, which will report back on the issue by August 30.

Massive New Spy Leak: An Overview

Leaks Out of South Africa Cover Spy Operations Worldwide

by Jason Ditz, February 23, 2015

In what is being called the “largest intelligence leak since Snowden,” media outlets al-Jazeera and The Guardian have obtained hundreds of confidential spy cables leaked out of the South African SSA.

The cables detail SSA correspondence with the CIA, Britain’s MI6, Israel’s Mossad, and other nations. The following are the stories that have been released out of the leaks so far.

Mossad Concludes Netanyahu Wrong About Iran’s Nuclear Program
Stories: al-Jazeera, The Guardian

In 2012, Netanyahu declared Iran was a year away from nuclear weapons. Remember the iconic photo of Netanyahu at the UN with the ridiculous cartoon bomb? Weeks later Mossad shared information with the South African government that contradicted the claim, said Iran wasn’t even attempting to produce nuclear arms, and had never tried to enrich any uranium to anywhere near weapons grade.

Of course we knew all that long before Netanyahu made the claim. It seems like Mossad knew it too, but Netanyahu wasn’t going to let facts get in the way of a good speech.

Israel Stole South African Missile Technology
Story: al-Jazeera

In 2010, documents reveal, Israel acquired stolen South African anti-tank missile plans. South African intelligence helped to cover up the theft, and kept prosecutors from releasing information about Israeli involvement when charging the thieves.

South African officials told reporters at the time that Israel had been approached but “was not interested.” The leak shows that not only was Israel interested, it bought the blueprints and Mossad got ahold of them. Mossad agreed to return the plans after they were caught, but only on the condition that Israeli middlemen involved would not be charged.

Abbas Tries to Kill the Goldstone Report
Stories: al-Jazeera, The Guardian

After the 2008-09 Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip, Judge Richard Goldstone was charged with investigating and reporting on the war crimes therein. You may remember this, as Israeli officials threatened the UN over the report and accused Goldstone, a South African Jew, of being an anti-semite.

South African cables report that even though Abbas did not, and indeed could not, publicly take a stand, he was privately lobbying against the Goldstone Report, fearing Israel would use it as an excuse to kill the peace process, and also fearing that pointing out war crimes committed against Hamas territory would strengthen Hamas’ bargaining position.

Iran Is No Threat to South Africa, But US Still Forced Them to Monitor Iranian Dealings
Stories: al-Jazeera, The Guardian

Even though South African intelligence openly confirmed Iran posed no “discernible threat” to South African interests, Heavy US pressure forced them to follow through on dubious sanctions, and to dedicate huge amounts of resources to spying on every Iranian diplomat in the nation, as well as a large number of ethnic Persians.

Years of investigations turned up very little, and ended with the conclusion that Iran must not consider Africa a high priority.

CIA Tries to Get Access to Hamas
Story: The Guardian

Even though the US government had banned all contact with Hamas, the CIA sought South African help in establishing contact with Hamas, asking the South African SSA to assist them in gaining access.

MI6 Blocked a South African Company’s Deal With an Iranian Petrochemical Company
Story: The Guardian

South African company Electric Resistance Furnaces (ERFCO) was blocked from a contract with an Iranian petrochemical company by British MI6, which claimed the company was trying to buy equipment for rocket production. ERFCO was never given evidence that the company was doing anything illegal, but was heavily pressured by British intelligence to stop the deals, which they did.

News agency reports they have obtained ‘Spy Cables’

Al Jazeera, a news broadcasting agency owned by the government of Qatar, has reported they have obtained hundreds of confidential and hidden documents, which the agency are calling the “Spy Cables.”

The report from Al Jazeera announcing the cables says the documents offer “an unprecedented insight into operational dealings of the shadowy and highly politicised realm of global espionage.” Al Jazeera also says they will release the documents over the next couple of days alongside the newspaper the Guardian.

The leaked documents, according to the Business Insider, come from many government agencies around the world, including Russia’s FSB, South Africa’s SSA, Britain’s MI6, and others. Documents from any American intelligence agencies though seem to be absent from the Spy Cables.

Even though documents from American intelligence agencies are not included, some of the documents point to the CIA working in correspondence with South Africa’s SSA agency. The documents also allegedly say the CIA had attempted to contact the group HAMAS, even though the U.S. government has labeled the group a terrorist organization.

Other documents say MI6 had attempted to recruit a spy in North Korea with the help of the South African government. MI6 reportedly met with a North Korean man and offered him an “undisclosed amount of money” for the man’s cooperation in a “long term clandestine operation.”

Another document claims Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu had exaggerated Iran’s nuclear production levels in a 2012 declaration made in front of the UN. A secret Mossad document released in the leak, however, says Iran was not at the time “performing the activity necessary to produce weapons.”

Al Jazeera writes they will only publish documents which they believe serve the public interest. They also write, “We believe it is important to achieve greater transparency in the field of intelligence…. Publishing these documents, including operational and tradecraft details, is a necessary contribution to a greater public scrutiny of their activities.”

More leaked documents will be released in the next few days on Al Jazeera and the Guardian.

Nelson Mandela Was Considered A Terrorist Until 2008


Many politicians and citizens around the world are currently mourning the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela.

The 95-year-old was generally thought of and admired as a human rights leader and icon. It comes as a surprise to many, then, that Mandela was actually on America’s terrorism watch list until 2008.

Mandela landed on the list because he was the leader of the African National Congress (ANC), a group listed among the 52 “world’s more notorious terrorist groups.” The ANC led the black struggle against the apartheid regime and describes itself as the “disciplined force of the left.” It is supported by the South African Communist Party.

The State Department labeled the ANC as a terrorist organization in the 1980’s because civilians had “been victims of incidents claimed by or attributed to the ANC.” In 1986, President Ronald Reagan said the group initiated and engaged in “calculated terror … the mining of roads, the bombings of public places, designed to bring about further repression.”

Mandela was jailed in 1964 for sabotage and plotting to overthrow the government. He was released from prison in 1990 and subsequently elected president of South Africa in 1994 in the country’s first free election.

In 2008, President George W. Bush signed a bill that removed Mandela from the terrorism watch list. He had remained on the list for so long due to a “bureaucratic snafu.”

Condoleezza Rice, the Secretary of State at the time, said the labeling was a “rather embarrassing matter… I still have to waive in my own counterpart, the foreign minister of South Africa, not to mention the great leader Nelson Mandela.”


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