South African expatriates in New Zealand are calling on nations globally to hold the country's government accountable for unlawful land expropriation.

The calls for condemnation come after news that the South African government may be undertaking land seizures without appropriate compensation.

Since the end of apartheid in 1994, the ANC has followed a "willing seller, willing buyer" process to redistribute white-owned farms to blacks.

But according to a government audit last year, 72 per cent of farmland in South Africa is still owned by whites, despite them making up 9 per cent of the population.

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That statistic prompted Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa's President who succeeded Jacob Zuma last year, to commit to a programme of land expropriation.

His ANC party has promised to "test out" section 25 of the country's constitution, which allows the government to seize land to rebalance past racially discriminatory laws.

The constitution makes it clear that reasonable compensation must be offered to the owner of the land, but the ANC is now planning a number of test cases to see if land can be seized without money changing hands if it is "in the public interest".

If such bids fail, the ANC has threatened to amend the constitution.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. Photo / Getty Images
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. Photo / Getty Images

Expat Deon Wallace, who has lived in New Zealand for 17 years, said he understands the need for land expropriation in South Africa, but he doesn't agree with the way it's being done.

"I understand why it's being done. All the people who owned land up until 1995 were all white, no black person could ever have land.

"Even up to now poor black people still don't have land, so I understand the issue - but what I don't agree with is the way it's being done."

The South Africa NZ Live radio producer said he was a "very frustrated South African at the moment" and was very disillusioned with the ANC government.

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"The government have let the people down because for the past 24 years they have basically done nothing when it comes to land reform, hence why we are at this point now where things are being forced and people aren't liking it.

"If it was done in the proper way from the get go, we wouldn't be in this position at the moment where people are being murdered and land is being taken away without any compensation.

"Yes, the land has to be redistributed, but where does that stop? Does it stop with eventually it will be private houses because that is on someone's land, and your bonds, stocks and pensions."

South Africa NZ Live Radio Producer and expat Deon Wallace, who has lived in NZ for 17 years. Photo / Supplied
South Africa NZ Live Radio Producer and expat Deon Wallace, who has lived in NZ for 17 years. Photo / Supplied

Wallace said land seizures were not only a problem for "whites" in South Africa, but also "coloured" people.

"It is more than what you are hearing and seeing. There is a lot more than just white farmers being murdered – there are lots of black farmers being murdered as well."

He said his biggest fear was that the land seizures would result in civil war.

"At the moment they are talking about rural farmland, but in the constitution it includes everything else - so where will it stop?

"All I can see of what is going to happen is they are going to start taking people's houses and it's going to lead to civil war."

Expat Arno Nel, from company South African Events, also believes the actions are likely to lead to more violence.

"I agree that if the wrong thing happens, South Africa could end up in a civil war. Everything is heading that way and people are getting very emotional, violent and angry," he said.

Nel, who left South Africa 17 years ago and is based in Australia, is organising a march in Auckland on September 2 to protest against expropriation without compensation, and the protection of minorities in South Africa.

"The worrying fact is that it seems that the government is now prepared to ignore the legal process.

"That is showing a change of attitude where up to now they would at least follow the legal process," he said.

"You cannot just take land, you need to keep in mind that the person who has it obviously paid for it as well. That is what we are condemning because that is not allowed."

Expat Arno Nel, centre, is organising a march in Auckland on September 2 to protest against expropriation of land without compensation in South Africa. Photo / Supplied
Expat Arno Nel, centre, is organising a march in Auckland on September 2 to protest against expropriation of land without compensation in South Africa. Photo / Supplied

Nel said the mood in South Africa has changed, and people are starting to lose hope for the future of the country.

"Five or 10 years ago it was still a mood of 'we will make this work' and 'we will sacrifice because there is a future', but now the mood has changed," he said.

"I think although it's not a process that everyone enjoys, we all realise that it needs to be done as long as there is the hope of a future for all the people in South Africa.

"But for most people in South Africa nothing has changed and instead it has got worse."

Nel said the government was acting "very irresponsibly" in creating the expectation of everyone getting land.

"We hate that expectation because they can't do it. Even if you do take land without compensation, you still can't give everybody land."

"When you create this expectation for millions of people, they start taking. And if the government at the moment can't even control the crime in the country, how are they going to stop land-grabs?"

Nel said, what he hoped for was for the world to stand up and condemn what is going on.

"The world has to condemn this and warn South Africa about what they are doing.

"Warn them that it will lead to things like sanctions if minorities are abused and they start expropriating land without compensation, because that is against international law."

• The South African Events March for South Africa in Auckland will start at 12pm from Auckland Town Hall on September 2.

- With Daily Mail.