Do 40,000 White Families Own 80% Of Land In South Africa?

Do 40,000 White Families Own 80% Of Land In South Africa?

From Daily Maverick

Do around 40,000 white families own 80% of the land in South Africa?

It is a claim that has been widely circulated since Andile Mngxitama, a Member of Parliament and “commissar for land and agrarian revolution” with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), raised the issue in an open letter to business tycoon Richard Branson in May this year.

In Mngxitama’s letter – written after the Virgin founder purchased a 40-hectare farm near Franschhoek in the Western Cape province – Branson’s acquisition was described as “stolen land”.

‘Native majority are landless’

“The dominant idiom since 1652 is that of the settler, who imposed it upon the native majority through force of arms,” Mngxitama wrote. “The result of this conquest is that, about 350 years later, the native majority is landless and only about 40,000 white families own up to 80% of our land.”

Mngxitama later repeated the claim on Twitter, writing: “ SA is constituted by 123-million hectares. 80% of SA land owned by only 40,000 white families. SA population [about] 53-million”.

In a subsequent television debate with Cornelius Janse van Rensburg from the Afrikaans “business rights watchdog” AfriSake, the EFF’s spokeswoman in Gauteng, Mandisa Mashego, was adamant that “80% of this country’s land is deemed as agricultural land and 80% of that land is owned by 40,000 white families”. Glaring, Janse van Rensburg responded: “It’s nonsense, it’s not so.”

Can the claim be dismissed as nonsense, or is there some truth to it?

Read more at Daily Maverick