‘Land expropriation without compensation’ is SA’s word of the year


The Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) on Tuesday announced “land expropriation without compensation” as SA’s Word of the Year.

The winner went head-to-head against commission (of inquiry) and Thuma Mina. Finalists for word of the year were reviewed and their merits debated, the winner being one that captures the philosophy, mood, or obsession of that particular year, said PanSALB.

“All findings are based on research conducted by Focal Points and Newsclip on factual statistics found within South African media and serve as credible sources. Using Focal Points and Newsclip, keywords were tracked for the period 1 January to 15 October 2018. This media data was analysed to determine the prominence of the keywords within the media and to identify the frequency that they were used in credible print, broadcast, and online media.”

Land expropriation without compensation is part of South Africa’s land reform plan and advocates for the review of Section 25 of the constitution in order to expropriate land and distribute it to black people, who were never allowed to own land under apartheid. It was found that “land expropriation without compensation” was used over 25,000 times in all South African media platforms. Commission was used 18,690 times and Thuma Mina 5,228 times.

Usage of the winning word increased significantly in 2018, said the PanSALB.

“The concept of land expropriation without compensation has been in existence, but PanSALB has seen a spike in frequency this year in the context of parliament’s effort to change the constitution to allow land to be expropriated without compensation. The choice echoes a year dominated by highly charged political and social discourse. It does not look like the usage of the term will slow down in the near future, especially if one takes into account that parliament is still trying to amend the constitution to allow land to be expropriated without compensation.

“The SA Word of the Year need not have been coined within the past twelve months. To qualify for consideration, we look for evidence that its usage has increased significantly across a broad range of media – print, broadcast and online.”

Last year’s winning word was “state capture”.

African News Agency (ANA) / The Citizen