In the mid-1990s, South Africa’s new democratically elected parliament passed several statutes that offered black people on white-owned farmland security of tenure. In response, many white farmers began destroying the fixed structures on their land.
‘When an old man dies,’ the owner of a large commercial farm about fifty kilometres from Normandale told me, ‘we bust up his house so that nobody else can move in. His children must live elsewhere. If they make a claim on the land, we go to court to contest it and we usually win because we can work the law better than they can. A generation from now, there will be no black people on the land. We are mechanizing. What labour we need we will employ by the day; it is easy to recruit from the slums.’
In the last decade of the twentieth century, almost a million black South Africans left their homes on white-owned land. They filled up the rural slums and shacklands from which farmers now recruited their labour.