Can land expropriation help heal South Africa?
In in addressing inequality. 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 once observed that there is always a well known solution to every human problem neat plausible and wrong nevertheless the idea Uh of land expropriation has returned to the public discourse in South Africa a panel assembled by President Cyril Ramaphosa to look into the idea It has returned a proposal recommending in limited circumstances these 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 is going to happen 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 by individuals as an illustration of the lingering effects of systemic injustice. It's hard to beat by lament. has rare opportunity to address on this past wrongs allow the natives who have lost so much to re came the ad dignity back by kissing our land back. No no I shall be treated as in our own land Never Ramos's panel has proposed seizing land which is held for speculative purposes land which is occupied and worked by tenants. and land that has been abandoned it has also suggested taking inner city buildings owned by absentee landlords the A._n._C. Lakota reaffirmed its position that a comprehensive land reform program that enables equitable access to land will unlock economic growth by bringing more land in South Africa to fool us and enable the productive active participation of millions more South Africans in the economy for obvious and understandable reasons. These measures will go over well. l. with a significant proportion of South African voters especially those who have lately been tempted away from President Ramaphosa's 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 who nearly doubled their parliamentary presence in last May's election the F. F. led by Julius Malema who might be charitably described as uncompromising in his general approach favors wholesale nationalization of South Africa's land you say I thought what colonialism we wanted decolonisation. He said yet your body Batas in Africa. What is being proposed by President. Ramaphosa's panel is significantly. less than that but it is nevertheless significant as it stands under section twenty five of South Africa's Constitution the government may expropriate appropriate land but is required to cough up just and equitable compensation there has long been chat about amending this close and or concocting getting some legal argument that in certain circumstances just and equitable compensation might amount to nothing they also a growing growing body of opinion in our country that the constitution as it stands does not impede expropriation Asian of land without compensation that expropriation will be popular in some electorally important demographics is beyond doubt and that is very usually usually the clinching argument in matters of politics although some polling in South Africa suggests widespread unease with the idea of no compensation facto less often subject to rigorous scrutiny is whether or not a given policy will actually work and where expropriation of land is concerned concerned there are some discouraging precedent and if you want to see