Can land expropriation help heal South Africa?
In addressing inequality quality it seems a straightforward indeed elegant policy. Take stuff off people who have a lot of it and give it to people who don't have any of it however anybody certainly any government proposing such a measure would do well to heed the immortal wisdom of H L Mencken who wants observed that there is is always a well known solution to every human problem needs plausible and wrong nevertheless the idea of land expropriation has returned to the public discourse in South Africa a panel assembled by President Cyril Ramaphosa to look into the idea has returned a proposal recommending in limited circumstances the seizure of land without compensating the owners. We should no longer be afraid of this process of having to change the land ownership architecture in our country. It is here and it is here to stay. It is going to happen land. Land ownership has been a persistent issue in post-apartheid South Africa and not without reason a quarter of a century after the racist monstrosity of apartheid was formerly dismantled white South Africans who comprise roughly nine percent of the population still own seventy two percent of the farmland possessed possessed by individuals as an illustration of the lingering effects of systemic injustice. It's hard to beat this by lament is rare opportunity unity to redress on this past wrongs to allow the natives who have lost so much to reclaim the dignity. <MUSIC> BIC by kitching our land back no law shall. We be treated as life in our own land. Never Ramaphosa's panel has proposed seizing land which is held for speculative purposes land which is occupied and worked by tenants and land and and that has has been abandoned it has also suggested taking inner city buildings owned by absentee landlords for obvious understandable reasons these these measures will go over well with a significant proportion of South African voters especially those who have lately been tempted away from President Obama poses his African National Congress now very much the Party of South Africa's establishment and towards the radical firebreathers of the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters Party not who nearly doubled the parliamentary presence in last May's election the F. F. led by Julius Malima who might be charitably described as uncompromising uncompromising in his general approach favors wholesale nationalization of South Africa's land. You'll say I thought what colonialism we wanted decolonisation yet yourself party or Lord Boorda's in Africa what is being proposed by President Obama poses panel is significantly less than that but it is nevertheless significant as it stands under section twenty five of South Africa's Constitution and the government may expropriate land but is required to cough up just and equitable compensation there has long been chat about amending this his clothes and or concocting some legal argument that in certain circumstances just and equitable compensation might amount to nothing they is also a growing body of opinion in our country that the constitution as it stands does not impede. beat expropriation of land without compensation that expropriation will be popular in some electorally important demographics is beyond doubt and that is very usually the clinching argument in matters of politics. Although some polling in South Africa suggests widespread unease with the idea of no compensation factor less often subject to rigorous scrutiny is whether or not a given see see policy will actually work and where expropriation nation of land is concerned. The are some discouraging precedents and if you WANNA the inroad of what you want to do today most infamously in the early years of the twenty th century Zimbabwe's then President Robert Mugabe ordered the seizure of white-owned farms and they're transferred to black ownership good have looked at what happened in Zimbabwe. Remember signor Robert Mugabe went down the same road was he also did in so doing was effectively <unk> demolish. Zimbabwe's agricultural infrastructure femme production plummeted by two thirds in less than a decade and Zimbabwe's economy collapsed alongside to the point where the country had to abandon its hyper inflation stricken currency in two thousand nine. Zimbabwe issued a one hundred trillion dollar banknote note which wouldn't buy a phosphate. They're actually doing the opposite non Zimbabwe. 'cause they realize the folly of their ways. South Africa is not Zimbabwe's and Cyril Ramaphosa Hosa is not Robert Mugabe but the <hes> some similarities many years after the end of white minority rule things remain extremely tough for many among long South Africa's black majority the unemployment rate in South Africa is a staggering scandalous twenty seven point six percent even higher among youth who. Who are increasingly drawn to the E. F F and South Africa is as Zimbabwe was an apparently attornal one party Democracy Ramaphosa a post has big problems and the means always tempting of making big gestures in response. If this Kevin was serious about restitution and redistribution we would speed up the hundreds of thousands of land claims that tremaine unprocessed in South Africa that is what it serious party would do if it was kid about land performer land redistribution the trouble is that property rights matter they are along with free and fair elections a free press judicial independence and the rule of law one of the crucial differences between functional society and a shambles property rights are also in this specific instance crucial to the foreign investment which South Africa urgently requires. Nobody is going to buy something if they're not sure they will be allowed to keep it and in fact we have said to those who are investing in no country that they shouldn't have no fear that the land property is going to be expropriated while the proposals of the presidential panel panel commendably constrained they will prompt concerns about these slipperiness of this particular slope they are of the ways to redress economic imbalance and historical injustice. The President Ramaphosa will be wearily aware that they are often more complex and long term than understandably impatient poor people would prefer he could of course set a personal example his own farm. The in Taba Neo near state in Malaga Province is reckoned at five thousand one hundred Hector's plenty to go around for monocle twenty four. I'm Andrew Moolah