Shanty huts sit next to rusted out cars, as children sprint along the dusty wasteland under the scorching sun. Beyond the flimsy shacks lie ditches and pools of filthy, stagnant water where mosquitoes breed. These are the daily conditions endured by families in South Africa’s ‘white squatter camps‘ where there is limited food, zero running water and no electricity.
While most white South Africans still land the high-paying jobs and enjoy relative wealth, the number of poor farming whites have steadily increased in the past two decades.
Following the end of apartheid in 1994, many unskilled white South Africans have enjoyed little sympathy from those who believe they profited from the brutal regime. More than 400,000 white South Africans are thought to live in poverty. The country’s population is about 50 million.
Seeking to undo years of racial inequality, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) government introduced laws that promoted employment for blacks and aimed to give them a greater share of the economy. This change, along with the global financial meltdown, has meant many white South Africans have fallen on hard times and are forced to live in slums.
The motion was put forward by the Economic Freedom Fighters but quickly amended by the ruling African National Congress (ANC), with the promise of reforms that will review racial inequity. Lawmakers voted overwhelmingly in favor of the injustice, with a resounding 241-83. More than two decades after white-minority rule came to an end in South Africa, most of the country’s profitable farming land is owned by white residents. A recent land audit conducted by Agri SA, a South African agricultural industry association, found that white farmers still control 73 percent of the country’s profitable farming land.
Agri SA expressed concerns over the parliament vote, saying that while it “fully understands the need for land reform and the frustration with the apparent slow process and is committed to orderly and sustainable land reform…politics and emotion dominated the debate.”
Julius Malema advised government officials that further land expropriation would aid in the unfair treatment of all. “We must stop being cowards. We must stop working around the white minorities who are governed by the fear of the unknown when it comes to the question of land expropriation without compensation.” As a strong supporter of the land confiscation, Malema has suggested that while genocide is not an immediate concern, it may be in the future.
More than 4,000 white farmers were devastated by this new reform, along with significant impacts to the economy and overall farm production. Poverty, death, and starvation; all reasons for those suffering in white squatter camps to beg our government for refuge.
A recent online campaign enlists President Trump to “take the steps necessary to initiate an emergency immigration plan allowing white Boers to come to the United States.” It suggests that Trump should no longer fixate on Somalian or Middle Eastern refugees but rather the anguish encountered by the white South African community.
While the expropriation motion is scheduled for go before the Parliment Constitutional Review Committee on August 30, 2017, it is uncertain what will happen to the impoverished white minority. Will President Trump hear their pleas and will he show them the aid in which the United States has offered to so many others?
Featured Image: David Harrison/AFP/Getty Images