South Africa: white countries, black hope

By Jean-Philippe Rémy

In the run-up to the elections in May, the issue of the redistribution of land is at the heart of the political debate. President Ramaphosa defends a project of expropriations without compensation to correct inequalities inherited from apartheid, with the risk of provoking new racial violence.

Shortly after the town of Coligny, in the middle of the fields, the asphalt of the road is overcrowded by the remains of a riot that only ended at dawn. Burnt tires, stones, glass fragments, some sticks hide the road. The usual remnants of demonstrations throughout South Africa, when the poorest strive to focus attention on their misery, or try to get corrupt municipalities to restore the basic services. This time anger broke out near a slum whose collapsed metal barracks surround Coligny, in the province of North West, 200 kilometers from Johannesburg.

This is the agricultural field of the field. Everywhere the flat and dry countryside unfolds as far as the eye reaches, with silos tired as rare illumination. Fields so large that we can not see the end. When the crops grow, there will be green areas whose size makes you dizzy. Just as dizzying is the contrast between these rich and vast estates and the microscopic plots of slum dwellers. These differences may lie at the edge of a major revolution. Land reforms, including the possibility of expropriation without compensation, are being developed. And that arouses and stimulates South Africa.

Farmer John Rankin, in Gerdau, North West Province, owns 2000 ha of land.
Farmer John Rankin, in Gerdau, North West Province, owns 2000 ha of land. JEROME DELAY / AP FOR THE WORLD

You still have to spend a good half an hour on deserted roads to get to John Rankin, a farmer in Gerdau, a small hamlet. "I was afraid you could not stand the violence, he said, but that's how it is the whole time. I do not know where that leads us. " Later he explains his theory: agitators roam the townships or informal settlements (slums) in small rural settlements and grow in riots. As a warming of the spirits, as a prelude to more serious problems. They would belong to the training of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) of Julius Malema, the man who called for correction of the inequalities in South Africa by the banner of a & # 39; Revolution & # 39; and sometimes also the mention of the possibility of racial violence. He is especially the first to campaign for a redistribution of land owned by whites to the black population, radically if necessary. Julius Malema is already calling out "Land invasions" in the entire country.