The parliament of South Africa voted in favor of a motion to confiscate land owned by white farmers without compensation. The ruling follows decades of racial grievances and land disputes.
The bill's frontman and leader of the radical opposition party called the Economic Freedom Fighters, Julius Malema, said "The time for reconciliation is over. Now is the time for justice."
Malema went on to say, "We must ensure that we restore the dignity of our people without compensating the criminals who stole our land." The bill passed with an overwhelming 241 MPs voting in favor while only 83 voted against indicating the country's constitution will now likely be amended to reflect the expropriation of land.
During a 2017 government audit, it was learned white people own 72 percent of farmland. Returning the land to black farmers is something Malema has campaigned on. In 2016, Malema told his supports he was "not calling for the slaughter of white people - at least for now."
Last year more than 70 white farmers were killed in 340 attacks, making farming more dangerous than being a police officer.
African National Congress deputy chief Dorries Eunice Dlakude said the party "recognizes that the current policy instruments, including the willing-buyer, willing-seller policy may be hindering effective land reform."
The opposing Freedom Front Plus party leader Pieter Groenewald warned the motion could have dire consequences. "If you continue on this course, I can assure you there is going to be unforeseen consequences that [are] not in the interest of South Africa," Groenewald said before parliament.
Parliament's Constitutional Review Committee is expected to decide on changes to the constitution and report back to lawmakers by August 30.
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