Leon Lemmer: Plakkers verswelg die eens beloofde land

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FA Venter* (1916-1997) was ‘n skrywer van onder meer historiese romans, soos die volgende vier oor die Groot Trek: Geknelde land (1960), Offerland (1963), Gelofteland (1966) en Bedoelde land (1968). Samevattend kan Suid-Afrika, ten minste in historiese Afrikanerperspektief, op Bybelse gronde as die Beloofde land bestempel word, op ‘n manier soortgelyk aan hoe die Sioniste Israel as hulle beloofde land beskou. Die hooftitel van Karl Kemp (gebore in 1992) se boek kan seker in daardie sin verstaan word: Promised land: Exploring South Africa’s land conflict (Cape Town: Penguin, 2020, 464p, R300; Kindle $14,36). Ek het al oor grondbesetting en -onteiening in Suid-Afrika geskryf, maar dit het veral op plase betrekking gehad; dus op plattelandse gebiede (Praag 23.03.2014 en 29.08.2020). Kemp plaas die klem op grond wat in stedelike gebiede en dorpe (onwettig) vir woondoeldeindes beset word. “Over the years, land reform policy has shifted from an agricultural focus to a far broader emphasis on ‘land’ in general, and now includes housing and often, by implication, capital” (Kindle 495). Dat grondbesetting vir woondoeleindes dié groot probleem is, blyk uit die verwagting dat 80% van die land se bevolking teen 2050 verstedelik sal wees (664).

[* Venter was ‘n Sap, maar hy het die ANC tereg as ‘n marxistiese instansie beskou en om daardie rede in 1987 uit die Afrikaanse Skrywersgilde bedank. Hy het in die Strand afgetree. Sy woonstel het aan hom ‘n uitsig oor Melkbaai gebied. In Die Burger het hy gekla omdat hierdie strandgebied vir blankes gereserveer was. Soos in die geval van Durban se strandgebied is blankes deesdae veral oor Kers- en Paastyd glad nie in Melkbaai te sien nie. Ek dink nie Venter sou werklik in sy noppies gewees het met die toestand waarin Melkbaai verval het nie.]

Wat grondbesetting en -onteiening vir boerdery- en woondoeleindes in die nuwe Suid-Afrika gemeen het, is enersyds dat die besetters swartes is wat binne Suid-Afrika migreer, asook inkommers uit veral Afrika-lande. Eersgenoemde euwel is te wyte aan die afskaffing van instromingsbeheer in 1986 (917) terwyl die ander euwel deur gebrekkige grensbeheer sedert 1994 veroorsaak word. In die 1996-Grondwet, artikel 21(3), staan: “Every citizen has the right to enter, to remain in and to reside anywhere in the Republic.” “Millions came to the Western Cape’s urban centres from the Eastern Cape in search of a better life” (710). Maar Helen Zille mag hulle glo nie vlugtelinge noem nie. Andersyds is dit nie net grond in stede en dorpe wat deur hierdie migranthordes vir woondoeleindes beset word nie, maar ook plase aan die buitewyke. Wat grensbeheer betref: “Both white and black communities in South Africa are calling for border control. In this at least they are united” (6153). Maar Kemp skryf: “What strikes me … is the disconnect between black politicians and ordinary black people” (6149).

Kemp verskaf die volgende perspektief: “It is not for nothing that Marxist historians place the mineral revolution at the heart of South Africa’s torrid racial history: what else could have happened, they argue, as a result of building a city of riches on the back of black labour from resources that were stolen? – [the Nelson Mandela/ANC/SACP perspective]. Apartheid apologists argue the other side of this coin in defence of the state’s actions – how else could it have dealt with the influx? Those coming from outside, they say, did so voluntarily, and the state was left to try to hammer the overpopulation this caused into something resembling order” (5477). “In 1986, amid a state of emergency and the worst sustained violence in the face of apartheid oppression since Sharpeville [1960], the government scrapped influx control” (5500).

Die afskaffing van instromingsbeheer, wat sedert 1996 deur die Grondwet gerugsteun word, is die kernoorsaak van die plakkerprobleem. “It all started with the scrapping of influx control” (5523). Dit is nie net blankes wat so dink nie. ‘n Swarte word soos volg aangehaal: “I think the white people are good for us. When I look back, there was no joblessness” (5820) en “The regulation of immigration was nice. And there were even good houses” (5820).

Wanneer daar in oorverligte geledere van gronddiefstal gepraat word, word aan die koloniale of imperiale era gedink, dus aan gevalle waar blankes na bewering die misdadigers was. Wat Kemp se boek duidelik maak, is dat swartes deesdae op ‘n ongekende skaal die plaaslike gronddiewe is. Hy verwys na “broken South Africa” (6911). Desnieteenstaande is dit my oortuiging dat Kemp hom, ten minste in die openbaar, polities byderwets voordoen. Hoe anders sou hy werk as joernalis kry gegewe die toestand waarin die massa-inligtingsmedia plaaslik en elders verval het?

Let op Kemp se ingesteldheid: “Farm attacks and land occupations are often said to be a concerted effort by the ANC to undermine and intimidate whites, and eventually chase them into the sea. To believe this is to completely misunderstand the political landscape of South Africa” (2904). Later verwys Kemp na “the ‘white genocide’ narrative regarding farm attacks” (3070). “Some of the conspiracy flavour has been washed out by more moderate advocacy groups” (3075).

Bloedrivier word deur Kemp bestempel as “a masterful work of [Afrikaner] propaganda” (6773). Op besoek aan die Voortrekkermonument verwys hy na “[the] failed and forgotten Afrikaner republics” (6745) asook na ‘n hedendaagse samelewing “slowly being overtaken by the onset of modernity” (6789). Orania word sonder meer “that infamous town” genoem (2185). Hy verwys na “the ever-present brutality” van die polisiemag vóór 1994 (6214). “The Overberg [Hermanus] municipality is officially the most segregated of any district in the country” (2518). Kemp verwys na “Johannesburg’s ‘Deep South'” as “collectively the old Indian and coloured dumping grounds” (4839). Bejaarde blanke boere praat glo op ‘n bombastiese manier (5066).

Kemp haal iemand, sonder teenspraak, soos volg aan: “FW de Klerk saved the country” (4245). Hy verwys na “the famous compromise negotiated at CODESA” (4536) en “the mysterious ‘third-force’ Boipatong massacre in 1992” (4548). Dit lyk nie asof hy kritiese perspektief op laasgenoemde drie gebeure het nie. Hy skryf egter tereg: “The violence on the Rand subsided after the national elections in 1994” (6223). Maar hy wend geen poging aan om met die voor die hand liggende verklaring vorendag te kom nie: Die ANC het in 1994 sy doel bereik, dus die politieke mag bekom, gevolglik het hy sy vlaag geweldadigheid teen sy swart politieke teenstanders en die blankes gestaak.

Meer aanvaarbaar is: “The ANC is so enamoured with ‘struggle credentials’ that it has never stood down from the ghosts of its past rhetoric in any meaningful way. One need look no further than the justification of ‘Kill the Boer’ as a ‘struggle song’ to understand this” (3189). En: “The country’s murder rate officially stands at a jaw-dropping fifty-eight murders per day. The ANC government is renowned for the lengths to which it will go to manipulate statistics in order to paint a better story, but even police minister Bheki Cele admitted that this was the highest rate in a decade” (3283).

Van die gruwelikste skandes van die nuwe Suid-Afrika is “29 000 civil servants earned [received] more than R1 million each [per annum] – double the number for ten years ago, even with adjustment for inflation” (3296). En: “Since 2016, there have been more social grants than there are people with jobs” (3300). In 2019 “a mere eighteen of the country’s 257 municipalities received a clean audit for the financial year – twelve of which were in the Western Cape” (3317). “South Africa’s municipalities owe Eskom a combined R9.8 billion” (3418). ‘n Groot waarheid word kwytgeraak wanneer ‘n Indiërvrou van die ANC-regime sê: “They are allowing lawlessness because they are scared to lose votes” (5324).

Dit lyk asof Kemp tans in Nederland is. Hy het ‘n Ciprioot as vriendin (6133, 6956). Hy sal seker nie op Afrikaans as sy huistaal aandring nie. Daar is nie tekens van ‘n sterk pro-Afrikaner-gesindheid by hom nie. Tog skryf hy: “I’m an Afrikaner” (4842). Kemp was ‘n student op Stellenbosch en is nog nie dertig jaar oud nie. Die probleem met sulke jong mense is dat hulle nie Suid-Afrika geken het toe die land die aanskyn van ‘n Europese of Westerse land gehad het nie. Toe is die land doeltreffend bestuur en wet en orde is gehandhaaf. In die boek kom hierdie blaps voor: “A Sotho from Basutoland (Botswana)” (3104).

In hoofstuk 1 skryf Kemp: “The Land Claims Court is special in that its standards are far looser than in an ordinary court of law. Evidentiary rules are flexible, allowing hearsy evidence and the testimony of anthropologists and historians in order to go about proving claims that are contigent on hundred-year-old facts” (260). Die punt is dat by grondeise die skaal, soos met omtrent alles waarmee die ANC-regime te make het, ten gunste van die swartes gelaai is en die blankes gewetenloos benadeel word. Daar is selfs swarte groepe wat eiendomsreg op Suid-Afrika in sy geheel eis (417).

In hoofstuk 2 beweer Kemp: “There is little that is unique about South Africa’s land conflict and resolution. From the occupation of Petrograd [St Peterburg] during the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, which explicitly centred on the redistribution of land to the peasant class, to the Cuban National Institute for Agrarian Reform under Che Guevara, to the landlord oligarchs of Chile who played a decisive role in Augusto Pinochet’s rise to power, to the modern-day reform in Ukraine, which lifted a long-standing ban on the sale of private land as part of its pivot to the European Union, land is elsewhere also perceived as the most fundamental resource, and the lack of it as the root of all other inequality” (449).

In die res van die boek word dit egter duidelik dat daar (waarskynlik) groter wetteloosheid in Suid-Afrika as in die genoemde of ander lande heers; dat swartes grootliks ongehinderd op ‘n ongeëwenaarde skaal die grond van blankes beset; dat die blankes nie van owerheidsweë afdoende teen sodanige diefstal beskerm word nie; dat die blanke eienaars uit hulle eie sakke vir die verwydering van plakkers moet betaal, ens. Van blanke eienaars wat weens plakkery die gebruik van hulle grond verloor het, word gesê: “They refused to institute eviction proceedings due to the enormous costs involved, which were more than the value of the occupied land” (5538).

Swartes wat plaaslik by grondeise betrokke is, die amptenare en die eisers, kan meer immoreel en misdadig as elders in die wêreld wees. Daar word van die veronderstelling uitgegaan dat hulle benadeel is; dat die samelewing, spesifiek die blankes, hulle iets/baie skuld. Byvoorbeeld, “[they] were using the identities of dead people, forming fake trusts and listing minors as beneficiaries to fill beneficiary lists for land claim purposes, opting for compensation rather than restoration, and then diverting the money into their own pockets while the land went begging. Many of the fake claims were lodged when government reopened the restitution claims process for a second round [in 2014] while thousands of the previous rounds’ claims were still outstanding” (503). In 2018 is 148 grondhervormingsprojekte ondersoek. Daar is bevind dat bedrog “on an enormous scale” plaasgevind het “with government officials dealing out farmland to anyone for the right price” (552). “No prosecutions had yet been made” (557).

“In South Africa, the process of attempting a more equal distribution of land has, broadly speaking, assumed three faces: restitution, redistribution and tenure security” (458). Dit gaan vir die ANC-regime om die herverspreiding van rykdom/hulpbronne, bv grond (640). Dus, neem die eiendom van blankes, met min of geen kompensasie, en gee dit (meesal sonder teenprestasie) aan die swartes. “Much of … [the] rhetoric is derived from anti-colonial writers like Frantz Fanon [Praag 4.01.2016], who wrote in his influential 1961 treatise, The wretched of the earth: ‘For a colonized people the most essential value, because the most concrete, is first and foremost the land: the land which will bring them bread and, above all, dignity'” (627). Grond word verhef tot ‘n simbool van rykdom en mag (696). Later word van ‘n aktivistiese Fanon-aanhanger gesê “[He is] a real call-to-arms kind of guy, who actively endorsed the ‘purificatory’ nature of violence” (2813).

Maar in die nuwe Suid-Afrika gaan dit in laaste instansie “all about the money” (700). Swartes wil geld van die staat, dus die belastingbetalers, hê as vergoeding vir die beweerde skade wat hulle of hulle voorgeslag gely het. Fanon verwys na brood. Maar ‘n plaas/grond lewer nie ‘n opbrengs sonder volgehoue inspanning oftewel harde werk nie. Dit is ook bog om soos Fanon te beweer dat die besit van grond die waardigheid van inheemses sal herstel. Plaaslik verkies swartes geld bo grond, dus kapitaal sonder dat hulle ‘n steek werk daarvoor gedoen het.

In hoofstuk 3 beskryf Kemp hoe swartes ‘n deel van Stefan Smit se plaas, aangrensend aan die swart woonbuurt Kayamandi aan die buitewyke van Stellenbosch, met krotte ingeneem het. Dit word op ‘n georganiseerde manier gedoen. Persele en krotte word deur krotboere (“shack-farmers”) verhuur of verkoop op grond wat nie aan hulle behoort nie. Hierdie misdade word openlik deur die EFF aangemoedig en nie daadwerklik deur die ANC-regime bestry nie. Plakkery het eers ná 1994 werklik ‘n probleem geword (930). “Any patch of land became fair game amid the confusion and uncertainty that marked the ANC’s ascent to power” (938). Sedert Cyril Ramaphosa in 2018 onteiening sonder vergoeding van (blankes se) eiendom entoesiasties as ANC-beleid aangekondig het, het onwettige grondbesetting deur swartes vir woondoeleindes ‘n verdere hupstoot gekry (832, 1037). Die Munisipaliteit Stellenbosch het grond ten bedrae van R45.7 miljoen van Smit gekoop (840). Daardie geld kom uit die sakke van (hoofsaaklik) blanke en bruin belastingbetalers.

Krotbewoners eis dienste (water, elektrisiteit, toilette, riolering, vullisverwydering, televisie) maar wil, soos die ANC/UDF hulle tydens die “bevrydingstryd” geleer het, nie daarvoor betaal nie. Die huise wat die munisipaliteit bou, word nie noodwendig beset deur die persone aan wie dit amptelik toegeken is nie. Die amptelike toekenning van huise geskied ook nie noodwendig aan diegene wie se name al die langste op die waglys is nie. Wie ook al so ‘n huis betrek, wil (dikwels) nie huur betaal nie. Nelson Mandela het destyds in Orlando, Soweto, in hierdie opsig die voorbeeld aan nie-betalers gestel. “Rent increases sparked some of the largest and most violent unrest in black townships in Gauteng during the states of emergency and rent boycotts of the 1980s” (5439). Deesdae pleit die ANC-regime grootliks tevergeefs dat swartes, anders as voorheen, in ‘n demokrasie huishuur moet betaal, asook vir dienste. “Soweto famously still doesn’t pay for much of its electricity and water” (4578). Dit sou interessant wees om te weet hoedanig die opbrengs is wat die Munisipaliteit Stellenbosch op die genoemde “belegging” van R45.7 miljoen kry.

Die plaaslike hoofstroom-inligtingsmedia, insluitende Media24, steun vir nuus (soos tydens die afgelope Amerikaanse presidentsverkiesing) swaar op linkse bronne, bv The New York Times. Hierdie koerant se siening van die gebeure by Stellenbosch is: “Mr Smit and his friends hold vast tracts of land brutally snatched from African inhabitants generations ago and deliberately kept in white hands for decades to come” (858). Smit is in 2019 vermoor, hoewel hierdie misdaad onverwant aan die plakkerprobleem kan wees. “For The New York Times and many others, the land occupation was a poetic representation of black dispossession and historical injustice, and Smit’s death an inevitable sentence passed on a history of blood and conquest” (897).

Dit bring my by hoofstuk 4. In Rapport (Weekliks, 11.10.2020, p 8-9) is ‘n uittreksel uit Kemp se boek gepubliseer. Dit handel oor die Borcherdse wat in die omgewing van Kraaifontein en Bottelary boer. Ek het vir Chris en Cynthia Borcherds geken. Hulle het in die jare vyftig op Nuutgewek begin boer. Daar was ‘n ou woonhuis, motorhuis en baie Port Jackson-struike op die grond. Hulle het met groente geboer en die plaas uit die grond uit ontwikkel. Chris het soggens teen vier-uur hulle groente na die Soutrivier-mark geneem. Later het hulle potklei lonend bemark. Mettertyd het hulle ‘n mooi dubbelverdiepinghuis gebou.

Hulle buurplaas, Avondrust, het aan Hannes Albertyn behoort. Chris en Cynthia se seun, Alfred, het met Hannes se dogter, Anzette, getrou. Hulle boer nou op Avondrust. Die ander Borcherd-seun, Christie, boer op Nuutgewek. Albei plase word deur grootskaalse plakkery bedreig. Kemp skryf veral oor Avondrust. Wyle Chris en Cynthia sou nie die groot gemors kon glo wat die nuwe Suid-Afrika op hulle trotse nalatenskap – hulle kinders, kleinkinders en die plase – losgelaat het nie. My hart bloei vir hierdie Borcherdse. Op grond waarvan kan swartes hulle die reg aanmatig om die harde werk en voorspoed van mense soos die Borcherdse te bedreig en selfs te vernietig? Hierdie toegewyde, beskaafde blankes kan met reg verbitterd voel. “The state had failed in its obligation to protect the family’s property rights” (5554).

Die neukery het met Irene Grootboom (1969-2008) begin toe sy in 1998 op grond aangrensend aan Wallacedene, eens ‘n bruin woonbuurt in Kraaifontein, voorheen die plaas Uitkyk, geplak het. In die Wikipedia word Grootboom ‘n “housing rights activist” genoem. In linkse geledere is sy ‘n ikoon. Die Grondwetlike Hof het in 2000 beslis dat behoorlike huisvesting aan haar voorsien moet word. Ingevolge die Grondwet, artikel 26(1), “Everyone has the right to have access to adequate housing” en artikel 26(3), “No one may be evicted from their home, or have their home demolished, without an order of court.” In die praktyk beteken dit dat mense aangemoedig word om onwettig te plak. Hierdie misdaad gee dan aan sulke plakkers die (mense)reg op huisvesting daar waar hulle plak of elders. Dit geskied ingevolge “the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act, which came into effect in 1998” (2968).

In die praktyk beteken dit dat grondbesetting (deur swartes) in groot mate gewettig of ten minste geduld word en uitsetting erg bemoeilik word. As gevolg hiervan ly grondeienaars “constitutional damages” (5575). Maar hiervoor gee die ANC-regime nie ‘n flenter om nie omdat dit meesal die eiendom van blankes is. Hoe lou die ANC-regime oor eiendomsreg voel, blyk duidelik uit sy beleid van onteiening sonder vergoeding; ook uit sy onderskrywing van nasionalisering, soos vervat in die 1955-Vryheidsmanifes. Swartes se gesindheid word soos volg deur ‘n oud-UDF-aktivis verwoord: “If you don’t give, we take” (4630). Later in die boek word “the ‘black mentality'” deur ‘n Indiër beskryf as “give us everything for free” (5320).

Grondeienaars moet regskoste aangaan voordat hulle (moontlik) van die plakkers ontslae kan raak. Die plakkers, daarenteen, hoef nie regskoste te betaal nie. Hulle word deur linkse elemente aangemoedig om te plak. Anargistiese regsinstansies, soos die Legal Resources Centre (Johannesburg) (946) en hulle regspraktisyns, behartig plakkers se belange in die howe. Die skaal is ten gunste van misdadigers/plakkers gelaai. Wat anders kan ‘n mens verwag van ‘n regime waarin talle (beweerde) misdadigers, bv korruptes, hulle in kernposte bevind? Van die vroegste tye af was mense self verantwoordelik vir die verskaffing van hulle huisvesting. Nou sit ons met ‘n regime en ‘n Grondwet wat daardie verantwoordelikheid op die staat en grondeienaars afskuif. Kemp skryf van “a Constitution that quite literally compelled government to provide shelter for all” (967).

Naas Wallacedene het nog ‘n krotbuurt, Bloekombos, ontstaan “in spite of the fact that the new residents chopped down the forest of bluegums that had stood around the Borcherdses’ farm for as long as the family could remember” (938). Nie net migrante uit die Oos-Kaap plak hier nie, maar ook baie inkommers uit Afrika (979). “In 2002 … the city [Cape Town] moved to purchase the land that Irene Grootboom and her group had occupied, known as New Rust. The property owners adjacent to New Rust proposed building a five-metre wall around the proposed development’s perimeter” (993). ANC-stadraadslede het hulle teen so ‘n “apartheidsmuur” verset. “It was never built, and Wallacedene continued to expand” (1007). In 2011 die plakkers “demanded service delivery and housing, setting fire to tyres and blockading Old Paarl Road” (1015) – die hoofstraat deur Kraaifontein.

Reeds teen 2004 “local [white] residents had seemingly given in to the inevitable. The owner of the smallholding on the edge of land between Wallacedene and Avondrust sold up and shipped out, and his land was bought by the municipality. It had acted as a buffer zone between Avondrust and the encroaching Wallacedene” (1028). Hierdie munisipale grond is spoedig deur ‘n see van krotte ingeneem “which would eventually spill over onto Avondrust” (1032). “In 2013, the Borcherdses’ son Tiaan was accosted in the farmhouse by a group of six black men. He was tied up and held at gunpoint while the robbers systematically looted the house” (1019). “In 2016 … Alfred was stabbed by three coloured youths after he caught them in the process of raiding his fields for vegetables. He spent ten days in intensive care” (1023). “In recent years, police stats have consistently placed Kraaifontein as one of the worst areas in the province for serious crimes” (1191).

“Theft of the Borcherdses’ vegetable stocks increased exponentially. Rubbish piles became mountains that poisoned the dam, hampering their irrigation systems” (1045). “The next thing they had to do was add fencing and metal coverings to prevent petrol bombs coming through the farmhouse windows” (1052). In 2018 “petrol bombs had been thrown and the fields were alight” (1052). “The city had applied for an interdict that allowed the occupiers to stay on the land [verging on the Borcherdses’ property] as long as they didn’t expand further” (1060). Dit is sotlike naïwiteit. (In Kleinmond het die munisipaliteit ‘n plegtige ooreenkoms met die swart plakkers aangegaan deur huise aan hulle almal te belowe op voorwaarde dat die krotte nie meer word nie. Die krotte het egter al hoe vinniger meer geword en die swartes het met periodieke oproer huise vir hulle almal geëis.)

Daar word statutêr vereis dat die hofbevel teen die bou van verdere krotte met kennisgewings op die perseel bekend gemaak moet word. Dit is nooit gedoen nie (1064). Dit sou nutteloos gewees het omdat sulke kennisgewings dadelik gesaboteer sou word, soos later gebeur het (1125). Op versoek van The South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO), ‘n ANC-gesinde instansie, het die Borcherdse ingestem/toegegee dat 62 gesinne op hulle plaas kon aanbly (1068). Maar “the buffer zone had filled up and expansion onto Avondrust was escalating” (1089). “The occupiers [were] threatening to burn down the farm” (1101).

Vertoë gerig aan die Munisipaliteit Kaapstad het op dowe ore geval “as the construction was taking place on Avondrust – private property outside the municipality-owned buffer zone” (1085). “Because the structures were on the Borcherdses’ private property, they were responsible for all the costs involved in the eviction” (1097). Dus, in die nuwe Suid-Afrika is blankes self vir die beveiliging van hulle lewens en eiendom verantwoordelik. Vandaar die afmetings wat die private sekuriteitsbedryf sedert 1994 aangeneem het. Daardie bedryf verskaf baie meer werksgeleenthede as die polisiediens. Die Borcherdse was by meer as een geleentheid verplig om teen hoë koste van private sekuriteitsdienste gebruik te maak (1097).

Daar was tye “the Borcherdses considered packing their bags and leaving everything behind” (1104). Anzette het soms snags om veiligheidsredes nie op die plaas geslaap nie (1109). Vir die verwydering van plakkers deur die Rooimiere het die Borcherdse R160 000 opgedok (1109). Die opgeruimde boumateriaal is op ‘n naburige plaas gestoor (1113). Dit is gesteel en die krotte is daarmee heropgerig (1117). ‘n Aktivis het die plakkers aangehits met die storie dat hulle onwettig ontruim is (1121). Teen hierdie tyd was daar 200 nuwe krotte op die plaas (1121). “The pump house at the dam was petrol-bombed” (1130).

Die Borcherdse het gereël dat ‘n stootskraper ‘n diep sloot grawe as ‘n grens ter beveiliging van die res van hulle plaas. “A day later, construction started on new shacks, from the buffer zone right up to the trench” (1138). Kemp skryf: “By the time I arrived months later, the trench was filled with rubbish. The shacks within the buffer zone were so congested that they had cut off the settlement’s access route … A fire broke out and many shacks burnt down as fire services were unable to penetrate the forest. The situation was nasty, but the trench appeared to have created a reprieve for the Borcherdses” (1142). (Aan die Rand het ‘n bruin kleinhoewe-eienaar dieselfde met ‘n stootskraper gedoen: “He shows me … the trench he’s been digging around his house [“around his entire plot” – 5020]. A field of shacks lies beyond it” (5006).)

“The week during the evictions cost the family in excess of R1 million. Anzette told me that Avondrust was now the ‘buffer farm’; if they were to sell up, or give up and leave, the ‘entire Bottelary district would be at risk’ of occupation” (1146). Die enigste moontlike koper vir die plaas is die munisipaliteit. “Farming here would probably be impossible now due to crop theft and pollution from Wallacedene” (1154). “The Borcherdses can’t leave their besieged land, not with their livelihood intact” (1162). “In all likelihood the state will end up buying out the Borcherdses, which is generally how occupations on private land play out” (1166). “Up to now a court cannot compel the executive to expropriate property. Such a scenario would likely create a precedent for large-scale land invasions where the occupiers know that they have the backing of the law. In truth, this is already the de facto situation” (1235). Die jongste moontlikheid is natuurlik dat die ANC-regime die plaas sonder vergoeding kan onteien en plakkers toelaat om na hartelus (gratis) daar te plak.

Teen die einde van die boek skryf Kemp: “I spoke to the Borcherdses again … who told me that shack construction had once again started apace, this time in the trench. The family is now actively looking to sell the piece of land to the state. Anzette told me that Covid-19 is the impetus behind much of the new expansion: the squatters claim they’re supposed to be social distancing, so they’re building new, bigger shacks on bigger plots further away from the main settlement” (6869). Op ‘n vindingryke manier word die pandemie misbruik om die diefstal van hierdie blankes se eiendom te probeer regverdig.

Van owerheidsweë is daar geen langtermyn-strategie nie. Grond (“land”) is sedert 1994 verhef tot “a highly emotive symbol of inequality” (2912). Wat die tragiese geval van die Borcherdse illustreer, is “that the ‘land crisis’ is in actual fact a housing and unemployment crisis” (1174), wat deur inkommers vererger word. “At the end of 2019, it was announced that South Africa had its highest unemployment rate of all time, at 29 per cent, rising to 38.5 per cent when ‘discouraged job seekers’ are included” (3300). Vir die derde kwartaal van 2020 is daardie syfers onderskeidelik 30.8% en 43.1%. Red nou ‘n land met so baie onproduktiewe mense. Werkloosheid is onder meer te wyte aan allerhande owerheidsmaatreëls wat die ontslag van werkers bemoeilik, asook weens die vasstelling en afdwing van minimum lone.

Die historikus, Louis Changuion, die outeur van die verdienstelike boek, Omtrede land (2011 – Praag 23.03.2014), se standpunt is: “The main problem in this country is overpopulation. Land won’t solve the problem because there are too many people. You’d still have massive unemployment, regardless of how much land you give” (3783). In Suid-Afrika is daar te veel mense wat die land benadeel en te min wat ter bevoordeling van die land werk. Die omvang van die probleem, dus hoe groot die duisternis is, word glad nie besef nie, onder meer weens die ANC-regime se ondoeltreffende sensusopnames en hulle manipulering van statistiek. ‘n Waarnemer “estimates South Africa’s population, which officially stood around fifty-seven million in 2018, to be closer to ninety million” (5558).

Ek het nou eintlik nog net tot by hoofstuk 5 gevorder. Daar is 20 hoofstukke. Die res van hierdie rubriek is dus baie oorsigtelik. Daar is die persepsie dat die Wes-Kaap, wat lewensomstandighede betref, beter as die res van Suid-Afrika daaraan toe is. Kemp se (verligte) siening is: “The Western Cape maintains a far higher standard of governance and quality of life than the remainder of the country” (3049). Daar is egter oorvloediglik rede om te ween oor die toestand waarin die Wes-Kaap verval het. As die res van die land nog slegter daaraan toe is, is dit nag. Die plakkers en ander probleme toon dat dit geensins hemel op aarde in die Wes-Kaap is nie. Oral is agteruitgang pleks van vooruitgang te bespeur.

Die inwoners het afdoende rede om nostalgies na die era vóór 1994 te verlang. Dit is nie net blankes nie maar ook swartes wat nostalgies na apartheid verlang (5847). Ook in die Wes-Kaap kan die volgende ná-1994-verskynsel daagliks waargeneem word: “I am feeling very bad when I am driving in the suburbs, finding a white person standing at the traffic lights asking for money, or asking for food, or for a job” (4519) – nie noodwendig omdat hy/sy sleg is nie, maar omdat die ANC-regime blatant en met oorgawe teen blankes diskrimineer. “In August 2018, the city [Cape Town] estimated a 53 per cent increase in land invasions and a 249 per cent increase in the number of protests” (2347).

In die Kaapse metropool: “New settlements have sprouted out of the oldest areas of government-allocated black settlement – Ndabeni [1901], Langa [1927] … Nyanga [1946] [and Khayelitsha in 1983] – and now push all the way into Cape Town’s more affluent northern suburbs” (1204). Teen 1994 het Khayelitsha – “the country’s murder capital” (1331) – reeds bykans ‘n halfmiljoen inwoners gehad (1322). In Philippi-Oos is 2.7 hektaar privaat grond sedert 2013 deur 60 000 plakkers ingeneem (1218). “[The] farmhouses [are] fortified like prisons” (1244). Philippi is waar 80% van die groente in die Kaapse metropool verbou word (1248) en waar “fourth-generation German farmers” boer “who find themselves surrounded by and at war with an ever-expanding slum” (1252). “It is almost impossible to permanently evict a community that persists for long enough” (2632). Daar is “small roaming herds of cattle and goats, apparently untended” (1244). Suid-Afrika het met oorgawe ‘n Derde Wêreld-land geword (1448).

Hoekom is eiendom in luukse landgoedere so duur? Nie net weens winsneming nie. Om so ‘n ontwikkeling goedgekeur te kry, vereis die owerhede “skenkings”/omkoopgeld ter bevoordeling van nieblankes. Tussen Kleinmond en Hermanus is daar die Arabella-landgoed. “Large-scale projects like Arabella were compelled to provide social upliftment for previous disadvantaged people within its operational area in order to receive ministerial approval for construction. Arabella had done so, pledging R10 million in addition to several other benefits, such as employment opportunities during construction … to an entity created for that purpose – the AC Trust. The beneficiaries were a number of representatives from Zwelihle [a township for blacks] and Mount Pleasant [a township for coloureds], including primary schools and learning centres. The bulk of the money, however, was intended for housing development in these communities” (2551). Die nuwe Suid-Afrika is seker die enigste land waar so ‘n verregaande rassistiese wanpraktyk amptelik funksioneer.

By Hermanus, tussen Zwelihle en Sandbaai, ‘n blanke woongebied, is ‘n veiligheidsheining nie geduld nie en gevolglik vernietig (2571). (Ook in Natal het eienaars tevergeefs ‘n veiligheidsheining op hulle koste opgerig: “a fence between them and the shacks … was summarily broken down” (6644)). In Zwelihle is die openbare biblioteek, die rioolaanleg en die nuwe openbare swembad verbrand of geruïneer. “The Overstrand munisipality estimated the damage at more than R40 million” (2575). Hoe lank sal dit duur voordat daardie swartes daardie R40 miljoen aan die munisipaliteit terugbetaal? Hoofsaaklik blanke belastingbetalers sal teen wil en dank vir hierdie onbeskaafde gedrag moet opdok. Een van die swart aktiviste sê: “In life, nothing is personal, but everything must be shared” (2623) – al die voordele, maar nie die (finansiële) verpligtinge nie.

Die huise wat die NP-regering vir swartes gebou het, is beter as dié van die ANC-regime. “These original houses [in Zwelihle] were built by a ruthlessly efficient apartheid bureaucracy and are relatively large” (2643). Elders in die boek word daar verwys na “the older houses built by the apartheid government, which are highly sought after for their durability … The RDP [ANC] houses fall apart quickly” (5721). “Between 2001 and 2016, the black population in this area [Zwelihle] increased by 43 per cent” (2671). “Around 11 000 people are on the Overstand municipality’s housing list” (2976). “A large part of this population boom comprises foreign nationals” (2681). “Employers have a perception of foreign nationals as hard-working, not entitled, better educated, more reliable and less prone to violence” (2688). Wat sê dit (veralgemenend) van die inheemse swartes? Het blankes rede om trots op, ingenome met en partydig vir hulle te wees?

In hoofstuk 11 verwys Kemp na die eerste plaasaanval aan die Kaap toe die blanke David Jansz, ‘n veewagter, in 1653 deur Khoi-Khoin vermoor is (3066). Veral in die Wes-Kaap het blanke boere en bruin plaaswerkers eeue lank saamgewerk. Dwarsoor Suid-Afrika het Kemp bevind dat boere deesdae voorkeur aan swart seisoenale werkers (plaaslikes en uit die buurlande) bo permanente (bruin) werkers gee. Dit blyk dat daar groot wrywing tussen bruines en swartes bestaan. Aan die Rand, in die “Diep Suide” van Johannesburg, verset bruines (bv in Ennerdale) en Indiërs (bv in Lenasia) hulle teen die indringing van swartes in hulle woonbuurte (4850). “Daar was “tense stand-offs between the coloured and Indian communities on one side, and the incoming, largely black squatters on the other” (4897). Hierdie grond is destyds kragtens die Wet op Groepsgebiede deur die NP-regering vir gebruik deur bruines en Indiërs onteien, maar – soos ordentlikheid vereis – met vergoeding aan die vorige eienaars (4876).

“An old coloured-Indian lady” sê: “I can’t leave my house, because when I leave they will move in … My sister was moved out at gunpoint. They stole my phone lines. They stole the electricity cables” (5245). Die swart plakkers gebruik die beledigende Zoeloe term Makula vir Indiërs en Boesmans vir bruines (5254). Die meeste van hierdie plakkers is inkommers (5286). Kemp skryf: “Once a critical mass is reached in large-scale occupations, there simply is no way for the original inhabitants to reverse it. They must adapt to the situation or move out. When discussing service delivery and making promises, ANC politicians often refer to ‘our people’. Who they are referring to has obviously never included whites, but recently coloureds, Asians, Indians and other ‘non-native’ residents of South Africa have started questioning if they are in fact included under that umbrella” (5308). ‘n Indiërman sê: “The will of the majority can only be held back by government. And without that, they will exercise their will on us. And this is what has happened” (5329). ‘n Indiërvrou voeg by: “She thinks Afrikaners have become helpless and passive as well, despite the perception that they would ‘fight back'” (5329) – verwysende na die 1999-verkiesingslagspreuk van die Demokratiese Alliansie.

Daar word ‘n interessante perspektief op die verskynsel van “swart belasting” gegee – die rede waarom swartes bv gratis woonplek en dienste eis en swart beurshouers aan universiteite studiegeld gebruik om gesins- en familie-ellendes te bestry. “Black tax is a tax you inherit when you start working. You have to take care of your uncle’s child, your mother, your father – and all of that is coming from your salary. And if you do not do it, you get emotional blackmail from your family” (5950). Die skuld hiervoor word, soos verwag kon word, vir apartheid, dus die blankes, gegee: “Black tax has its historical roots in the inequalities created by apartheid and the loss of land. Consequently, thousands of black South Africans still live in poverty today” (5982). Maar daar is baie arm swartes in ander lande waar daar nooit apartheid was nie. Wat van bv hoë geboortesyfers as ‘n moontlike rede vir armoede?

Die huisvesting wat vir swartes gebou word, is selde groot genoeg. Aanleunkrotte word dus opgerig. Die ruimte wat om sulke huise gelaat is, word dikwels spoedig deur krotte ingeneem. “Backyard shacks have backyard shacks” (5786). “Everywhere we pass RDP [ANC] houses, the shacks like mushroom around them. It seems logical – a house is an income if you use it in this fashion” (5892). Die krotte staan mettertyd so dig teen mekaar dat groot skade tydens brande aangerig word. Dit is dikwels nie vir die polisie, brandweer- en ambulanspersoneel en munisipale amptenare moontlik om die nodige ruimte te vind om ‘n krotbuurt binne te dring nie; ook weens die vyandigheid van die plakkers. “Landlords” (5295, 6543) orkestreer die onwettige besetting van grond. “Shacklords” (742, 6599), bedryf “shack-farming” (4955, 6531) deur krotte op gesteelde grond op te rig en hulle dan te verhuur of verkoop. Hierdie misdade word oogluikend toegelaat en het klaarblyklik gekom om te bly.

In die laaste hoofstuk kom Kemp tot (eienaardige) gevolgtrekkings: “How wrongheaded the idea of a black-versus-white land tussle is, and how misleading it is to see land invasions and farm murders as intrinsically and irrevocably tied to a historical feud between ‘settlers’ and ‘natives’; that violence arising from land conflict is a straight line running through history abutted at different intervals by new generations; that racial hatred is as simple as that and will never cease until some kind of status quo ante is restored” (6155). Wat Kemp nooit verreken nie, is (fundamentele/onoorbrugbare) kultuurverskille, naamlik dat (veralgemenend) blankes en swartes (van nature) verskillend dink en doen. Maar soms kom selfs hy dit agter, bv as hy by swartes “a relative lack of Western influence” waarneem (6175).

Grondgrype word in swart geledere beskou as “history righting itself – as justified violence with ominous overtones of what is to come” (5611). “The story of shacks in South Africa will never end” (5900) – net so min as wat dag kan breek uit hierdie duisternis. In die woorde van diegene wat swart mag aanhang: “This struggle will never stop until the land has been returned as a whole to its rightful owners” (6831).

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