Land reform is not a threat, South Africa’s Ramaphosa tells white Afrikaners

A group of men prepare a recently pegged-out plot in an open piece of land next to the makeshift illegally established and informal settlement in Khayelitsha, about 35km from the center of Cape Town, on May 17, 2018. (AFP / RODGER BOSCH)
Updated 08 June 2018

Land reform is not a threat, South Africa’s Ramaphosa tells white Afrikaners

  • Ramaphosa, who replaced scandal-plagued Jacob Zuma in February, has promised to redistribute land to the black majority to address the deep racial inequality that persists more than two decades after the end of apartheid.
  • Ramaphosa, who played a key role in the negotiations that led to the end of white minority rule in 1994, on Thursday urged Afrikaners to approach land reform in the same spirit as the transition to democracy.

CAPE TOWN: South African President Cyril Ramaphosa told the white Afrikaner community on Thursday that it should not view his government’s land reform plans as a threat, but as a way to harness the country’s economic potential and heal divisions from the past.
Ramaphosa, who replaced scandal-plagued Jacob Zuma in February, has promised to redistribute land to the black majority to address the deep racial inequality that persists more than two decades after the end of apartheid.
He has been at pains to dispel fears among some white South Africans that they could face violent land seizures if the government’s land reform program is bungled.
“Tonight I want to say to all of you: Let us not see the issue of land as a reason to pack up and go,” Ramaphosa told a gathering of the Afrikanerbond, an organization founded 100 years ago to defend the interests of the descendants of mainly Dutch settlers.
“It is an opportunity to build a more just and equitable society that makes full and effective use of the resources we have,” Ramaphosa said, peppering his speech with phrases in Afrikaans, Afrikaners’ mother tongue.
Ramaphosa has embarked on a charm offensive ahead of next year’s national election as he seeks to restore confidence in the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and kick-start economic growth after a decade marred by corruption and mismanagement.
The ANC has faced criticism that its land policies could erode property rights and deter investment, even though privately owned land is not expected to be expropriated until after the election.
Ramaphosa, who played a key role in the negotiations that led to the end of white minority rule in 1994, on Thursday urged Afrikaners to approach land reform in the same spirit as the transition to democracy.
“You are Africans, and we must accept that,” he said, ending his speech to applause from the crowd. “Afrikaners are as integral to the South African nation as any other community that we have.” 


Thailand’s lost baby dugong dies from shock, eating plastic

Updated 48 min 34 sec ago

Thailand’s lost baby dugong dies from shock, eating plastic

  • Marium, the female baby dugong had already lost her mother when she was initially found
  • Biologists tried saving her, but they believe she died of a combination of the plastic and shock

BANGKOK: An 8-month-old dugong nurtured by marine experts after it was found lost near a beach in southern Thailand has died of what biologists believe was a combination of shock and ingesting plastic waste, officials said Saturday.
The female dugong — a large ocean mammal — was named “Marium” and became a hit in Thailand after images of biologists embracing and feeding her with milk and seagrass spread across social media. Veterinarians and volunteers had set out in canoes to feed Marium up to 15 times a day while also giving her health checks.
Last week, she was found bruised after being chased and supposedly attacked by a male dugong during the mating season, said Jatuporn Buruspat, director-general of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources.
She was brought in for treatment in the artificial sea on Libong Island in Krabi province.
“We assume she wandered off too far from her natural habitat and was chased and eventually attacked by another male dugong, or dugongs, as they feel attracted to her,” Jatuporn said Saturday.
An autopsy showed a big amount of plastic waste in her intestine, which could also have played a part in her death as it led to gastritis and blood infection, he said.
“She must have thought these plastics were edible,” Jatuporn said.
The dugong is a species of marine mammal similar to the American manatee and can grow to about 3.4 meters (11 feet) in length. Its conservation status is listed as vulnerable.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-arcpha said Marium’s death saddens the whole nation and the world.
“Her death will remind Thais and people all over the world not to dispose trash into the oceans,” Varawut said at a news conference.