Acres of doubt: ANC split over land expropriation
Survey finds 30% of party faithful don't agree with the proposed policy
ANC supporters are split in their views about land expropriation without compensation, with nearly a third strongly disagreeing with the proposed policy.
EFF and DA supporters are also divided on the matter, with one-fifth of DA supporters strongly agreeing with land expropriation, while nearly a quarter of EFF supporters strongly disagree with it.
This is according to the South African Citizens Survey, in which 7,800 South Africans were interviewed in two phases from April to September. Interviews were conducted in English, Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, Sotho, Sepedi and Setswana, and sampling sites were randomly chosen in all provinces and in metro, urban and rural areas.
Reza Omar, director of research and strategist at Citizen Surveys, said the question of land expropriation without compensation was extremely polarising, splitting SA down the middle, with most people holding extremely strong views, both in favour and against.
South Africans were asked if they “strongly agreed”, “agreed”, “strongly disagreed”, “disagreed” or “neither agreed nor disagreed” with proposed land expropriation without compensation. Most people chose either “strongly agreed” or “strongly disagreed”, showing how emotive the matter is.
When it came to political parties, South Africans who aligned themselves with the ruling ANC were divided.
A total of 35% of respondents who felt closest to the ANC, said they “strongly agreed” with the proposed policy, but 30% of its supporters “strongly disagreed”. While 14% were neutral, 10% of ANC supporters chose “agreed” and 11% chose “disagreed”.
This was in response to the question: “To what extent do you agree or disagree that government has the right to take land without payment and to redistribute it to people who were disadvantaged under apartheid?”
Omar said while it was not surprising that the DA and EFF were mirror images of each other, the numbers of those who disagreed with land expropriation in the EFF and those who agreed with it in the DA were higher than expected.
“While these political parties pursue a particular party line, the matter is so polarising that even within their respective support bases (South Africans who feel closest to the party) there is dissonance,” Omar said.
The DA had a majority of its supporters in the strongly disagree camp, whereas the EFF had a majority within the strongly agree camp.
The study found that about 49% of DA supporters strongly disagreed with expropriation of land without compensation, while only 20% strongly agreed.
For the EFF, 42% strongly agreed, with 24% strongly disagreeing with the proposed expropriation of land without compensation.
The Cape Town-based company explained that the probability proportionate to population size was based on the latest Stats SA estimates of the population aged 18 and older. Weights were applied to ensure the sample represented the most recent national population with respect to province, race, gender, age and area type.
For instance, in the quarter between April and June, 10.4 million or 28% of South African adults “strongly agreed” with the policy. In the third quarter of the year (July to September), this number grew to 12.2 million or 33%.
However, even more people in the second quarter “strongly disagreed” (11.5 million or 31%) with the expropriation of land without compensation, growing to 13 million or 35% in the last quarter.
“In aggregate, there are more people who strongly disagree with land expropriation without compensation than strongly agree by a margin of nearly 800,000,” the survey found.
The difference between what men and women believe was marginal: 52% of men “strongly agreed” with land expropriation, compared with 53% of women.
Minister in the Presidency Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma recently said denying land rights to the black majority was a “time bomb” and that people’s patience with the matter was “slowly wearing out”.
She was speaking at the Department of Rural Development’s women and youth dialogue on land reform about a month ago.
“This situation of the land is untenable‚” she said, adding that “there must be urgently a way of dealing with this land issue”.
“Failure to do that means we risk instability in the country and we risk to lose a lot more than we can gain from being quiet. It cannot be business as usual.”
President Cyril Ramaphosa has repeatedly said the government would go ahead with land expropriation without compensation, but that it would be done in a responsible way.
Last week, the Pan SA Language Board of SA named its Word of the Year for 2018: “Land expropriation without compensation.”
The board said the SA Word of the Year was a term or expression that captured the philosophy‚ mood or obsessions of that particular year.
“Using Focal Points and Newsclip‚ keywords were tracked for the period January 1 to October 15. This media data was analysed to determine the prominence of the keywords within the media and to identify the frequency that they were used in credible print‚ broadcast and online media‚” it explained.
It was found that “land expropriation without compensation” was used more than 25‚000 times in all SA media (print‚ broadcast and online)‚ beating words like “commission (of inquiry)” at 18‚690 and “Thuma Mina” at 5‚228.
Parliament is expected to debate whether the Constitution should be amended to allow expropriation without compensation between November 26 and 28.