SAHRC must withdraw, and apologise for, inaccurate, racially divisive statement on land ownership – IRR
16 August 2022
The IRR is taking legal advice on possible steps against the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) for peddling a blatant factual inaccuracy on land ownership in South Africa.
On 11 August, the SAHRC tweeted:
“The Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform has identified that Africans own an average of 4% of the land and whites still own 72%,according to the 2017 Land Audit. #ECMalnutrition”
In fact, the state’s 2017 land audit is so partial and incomplete – by the government’s own admission – that its dubious claims should never be endorsed in this simplistic way. For the SAHRC to do so at this time is inflammatory and dangerous too.
The government is now rapidly pushing ahead with its legislative assault on the property rights of all South African land, home, and business owners via the Expropriation Bill, which the relevant portfolio committee is scheduled to put forward for adoption by the National Assembly on 14 September 2022.
The main focus of the government’s flawed 2017 audit was on allocating a racial identity to privately owned land. However, it found that 61% of the country’s total land area was owned by trusts, companies, and other organisations, the racial identity of which could not easily be ascertained. Its ‘solution’ was to leave this land out – even as it purported to make comprehensive and definitive findings about land ownership.
The report’s conclusion, that blacks own a mere 4% of agricultural land, omits the 61% of land which is privately owned by companies and other juristic entities. It also excludes:
all land in state ownership,