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Vol 41 No 14

Published 7th July 2000

South Africa

The bigger the better

The government prefers efficient farmers to contented peasants

Zimbabwe's land rows have touched a sore nerve in South Africa, where land hunger is a lively, if partly suppressed, political issue and where white people still dominate commercial farming. Like their northern neighbours, South Africa's white farmers have been victims of violence. Over 600 farmers and farm-workers have been killed since the African National Congress took office in 1994, but most have been killed by criminals, not political activists. Before their recent merger, both the parties with substantial white memberships - the New National Party and Democratic Party (DP) - had claimed that black militants (especially in the small Pan Africanist Congress, PAC) were plotting to drive farmers off their land. Politicians and police chiefs say this is not so but one leaked intelligence report said the aim was indeed political.

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