Party leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Julius Malema's aggressive rhetoric has the potential to incite more violence against white farmers in South Africa.

A record 400 white farmers were killed in South Africa last year, and with new President Cyril Ramaphosa supporting the expropriation of land “taken under colonialism and apartheid”, the worst could still be to come.

Under the proposed constitutional amendment, the 35,000 white farmers remaining (down from 60,000 in 1997) could have their farms seized and without any compensation.

It was put forward by the EFF party, whose leader Julius Malema said to parliament: “We must ensure that we restore the dignity of our people without compensating the criminals who stole our land.”

The motion was passed overwhelmingly 241 votes to 83 votes against, and Ramaphosa has declared his intention to speed up the transfer of land from the white minority.

When he was rallying for the removal of the mayor of Port Elizabeth Athol Trollip because he is a “white man”, Malema added, “We are cutting the throat of whiteness”.

The pedalling of this aggressive anti-white sentiment, is likely to give further impetus to the thugs that are torturing, and in many cases killing farmers, with very little fear of being brought to justice.

According to white nationalist body AfriForum, it already has.

Last week, the group which monitors and aims to prevent attacks, sent a formal request to police chief General Bheki Cele to discuss a noticeable spike in farm invasions.

“Irresponsible political remarks increase the level of uncertainty and cause further feelings of threat for legal land owners. We want to meet with Cele to talk about what the police will do to maintain law and order in communities where property right is increasingly coming under pressure,” said Ian Cameron, Head of Community Safety at AfriForum.

“Political remarks that increasingly portray legal land owners as the enemy or even land thieves create a climate for an increase in farm attacks. In January 2018 there have already been double the amount of farm attacks than in January 2017.”

In January 2018 there have already been double the amount of farm attacks than in January 2017.

Australian News Corp reporter Paul Toohey travelled to South Africa to speak with victims of the escalating violence.

Rikkie Alsemgeest (67) was digitally raped and burned with a household iron, and her husband Piet (86) is still in ICU having been brutally beaten with an iron bar. The four black men who broke into their house on a Kimberley beef farm made off with the contents of their safe.

Berdus Henrico (39), who runs a game park in Limpopo province, was shot three times less than a month ago, and says “this is normal”.

“They want money and they want guns,” Henrico said. And political motive? “Yes. They want the people off the land so as they can go on like they want to. They want it here like it was in Zimbabwe a few years ago when they chased all the whites out and let it go to the ground.”

Petitions are being circulated online to demand refuge for these white farmers.

A petition addressed to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, UK PM Theresa May and German chancellor Angela Merkel, is demanding Europe allow migration of those under threat because they face “ethnic cleansing and persecutions at the hands of the ANC government, the EFF, and various groups that seek their liquidation and to appropriate their property”.

There is another directed at US President Donald Trump, and between the two, there are already more than 40,000 signatures in support.

Zimbabwe comparisons

As well as the white farmers, the South African economy is under threat too.

Zimbabwe’s former president Robert Mugabe presided over the ‘agrarian reform’ in 2000, which transferred 4,000 white-controlled farms over to the black community.

Many of the replacement farmers were inexperienced or lacked resources, and the economy that relied so heavily on its agriculture collapsed.

Unemployment peaked at 90%, and the bad policy was estimated to have cost the nation $20 billion.

The same thing could happen in South Africa, if it doesn’t learn from the lessons of its northern neighbour.

Only now, is Zimbabwe getting back on its feet, and the government has even begun compensating the white farmers it displaced, as President Emmerson Mnangagwa attempts to restore the faith of international investors.