STELLENBOSCH, South Africa, April 7 — South Africa’s third-largest political party, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), on Wednesday marched to the office of Johann Rupert and asked him, the country’s richest person, to release his lands to black people.
Hundreds of party members led by the party leader Julius Malema marched in Stellenbosch, outside Cape Town, and handed over their memorandum to a representative of investment firm Remgro, which is chaired by Rupert.
EFF demands the business mogul to release some of his lands, alleging that they were “stolen” from his black’s ancestors, who are “rightful owners.”
Malema said the poverty of black people is caused by a lack of ownership of lands and his party, which describes itself as a radical and militant economic emancipation movement, “exists everywhere confronting white monopoly.”
The party also demanded Rupert immediately disclose the amount of property he owns, among others.
Remgro’s representative received the memorandum and said Rupert is not in South Africa.
South Africa’s land issue goes back more than a century to the 1913 Natives Land Act, which made thousands of black families forcibly removed from their land. This marked the beginning of socio-economic challenges the country is facing today such as landlessness, poverty, and inequality, according to the government.
A 2017 land audit conducted by the South African government revealed that white people own 72 percent of the total farms owned by individuals. Black and colored people own 4 percent and 15 percent respectively, while Indians own 5 percent, it said.
Forbes lists Johann Rupert and his family as the richest in South Africa and the second richest in Africa, whose net worth is 9.3 billion U.S. dollars.
March day coincides with the beginning of European colonization in South Africa. On April 6, 1652, Jan Van Riebeeck, who had a contract with the Dutch East India Company (VOC), arrived at what is now Cape Town, thereafter establishing the first European settlement in southern Africa. (Xinhua)