The Myth of ‘voluntary removals’

Cover page to a conference paper, entitled ‘The Myth of “voluntary removals”’, by Aninka Claassens for the Second Carnegie Inquiry into Poverty and Development in South Africa. This conference took place at the University of Cape Town from 13–19 April 1984.

Claassens studied African languages at UCT, Sociology at Wits, and has a PhD in Development Studies from Roskilde University in Denmark. She began her working life as a trade union organiser. During the 1980s she worked closely with rural communities resisting forced removals. From 1990 she was senior researcher in the Land Rights Project at the Centre for Applied Legal Studies at Wits University. During South Africa's transition, Aninka participated in working groups that developed proposals pertaining to legislation dealing with restitution and the protection of labour tenant and farm worker rights. She was a member of the ANC’s land desk and was a technical expert to the Constitutional Assembly on land rights and the property clause.

‘However unequal the struggle, in terms of the law, in terms of the State's access to military and police force, and its access to money and resources, people continue to resist removal,’ writes Claassens in her conclusion. ‘They know too much about the lives of the three and a half million people already moved to accept the same fate meekly. The Mogopa people have lost their land, their diamonds, and a great deal of their livestock and furniture, yet they continue to resist the Government's plans for them.’

The Myth of 'voluntary removals'