Fears that South Africa may follow the lead of Zimbabwe with its land reform proposals heightened this week (w/b 26 Sep) after the government approved the seizure of a white owned farm for return to its black heirs.

According to the Times (28 Sep) the seizure, which follows the failure of talks lasting more than two years where by the government would pay compensation  to the Afrikaner family concerned, marks the end of the willing buyer/willing seller policy.

The policy, which uses public money to buy farms from white farmers willing to sell to black farmers, aims to get 30% of farm land under black ownership by 2014. 

So far just 3% has been achieved.

Following criticism that it was being slow to accelerate the process of land reform the government recently changed the law to allow expropriation to take place without court approval.

Thoko Didza, the Land Affairs Minister, more recently announced that she intends to submit plans to Cabinet that will make the process of land reform ten times faster.

“The quicker we deal with this issue, the better for all of us,” she said.

She added that the target was not negotiable and that “policy, not the deadline will have to change”.