The ATM condemns the murder of 62-year-old Stefan Smit, owner of the Louisenhof wine farm on the outskirts of Stellenbosch, who was shot and killed in his house on Sunday night.
Although there is at this time no conclusive evidence that the killing is related to illegal occupation on Louisenhof, the farm was the object of occupation of the land in August 2018, when hundreds of residents of nearby Kayamandi and the surrounding area began to erect informal housing and barracks on the property.
The occupation took place during the intensified national debate on expropriation of land without compensation. Following the first incidents, Smit had banned further occupation of his property and the authorities evicted the illegal inhabitants shortly thereafter.
The ATM urge law enforcement authorities to act with haste against the perpetrators.
The Smit murder is a wake-up call that Land Reform demands exacting attention without any further delay!
Land grabs are unacceptable, and the ATM opposes illegal occupations. With several interdicts against occupiers granted by the Western Cape High Court since May 15, the Land matter is a powder keg, and responsible politicians must not allow any further delay in implementing Land Reform.
The position of the ATM is crystal clear:
- Expropriation without Compensation for public good, not for individual benefit;
- Farm workers must be co-owners of the farms where they work;
- Traditional Leaders must be the custodians of the land in rural areas on behalf of the people;
- A State Bank in conjunction with Development Bank of South Africa and Land Bank must provide financial support to emerging farmers and property developers;
- The ATM does not support arbitrary expropriation of land, particularly residential land.