Imraan Buccus’s opinion piece (Mercury, August 22) expressing concern over President Ramaphosa’s pandering to populism on the land question is a refreshing departure from his usual socialist offerings.
Buccus rightly states that the focus should be on urban rather than rural land. The fact that 92% of the recipients in land restitution cases have opted for the cash value of the land they claimed, exposes the falsehood of populist rhetoric that an agrarian revolution is imminent.
In 2013 the World Bank warned that developing countries should prepare to house an additional 2,7 billion people between 2013 and 2050 as migrants move in unprecedented numbers from rural areas to pursue aspirations in urban areas. That trend is a distinct reality in South Africa as indicated by the mushrooming of informal settlements around urban areas.
It is disturbing, therefore, to note that for all his business savvy, President Ramaphosa feels a virtuous economic cycle will evolve by handing over rural land to the poor. Is he blind to what occurred in Zimbabwe?
The root of the ANC’s posturing on the land issue is its adherence to the discredited communist ideology found in its 1955 freedom charter. The charter’s assertion that “all shall have the right to occupy the land wherever they choose,” besides being unconstitutional, is an invitation to anarchy. In sanctioning land expropriation without compensation, the ANC is attempting to adhere to the charter despite the folly of such a policy in terms of food security and its massive, negative economic and investment consequences.
What commentators on the land issue appear to have neglected to date is that the future stability and viability of South Africa is actually premised on the security of its minorities. By demonising and marginalising white, Indian and coloured minorities, accusing them of stealing the land and imposing constraints on how much land (12,000 hectares) they can own, the lot of the majority will not be improved. The history of post-colonial Africa shows that wherever minorities were marginalised and persecuted, the economic well-being of that country declined. Nowhere has that been more tragically illustrated than in Zimbabwe.
By attempting to define the future through the lens of failed, populist ideology, the ANC risks destroying South Africa. The reality is that the welfare of the majority depends on the security of the minorities.
Sent into The Mercury and published, 23 August 2018.