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South Africa Going The Way Of Zimbabwe

It seems that the South African government is caving into pressure and will be taking the first tentative steps of forcing land reform on unwilling landowners:
South Africa says it will for the first time force a white farmer to sell his land under a redistribution plan.

The decision was announced by the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights, set up to return to black people land lost under apartheid.

An official said talks to agree on a price for the farm had failed and the farmer has vowed to challenge the move.

South Africa's government says it wants to hand over about a third of white-owned farm land by 2014.
Now I'm not debating whether some type of land reform is necessary. Any country where 80% of usable farmland is owned by 10% of the population is not structured for good social relations.

But... have we not seem what this leads to in Zimbabwe? Zimbabwe was once a net food exporter. Today, the country is a basketcase.

So why does the future look grim for South Africa. Well just listen to the politicians:
But Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka says the pace of reform should be speeded up - as in neighbouring Zimbabwe, where most white-owned land has been seized by the state.

"There needs to be a bit of oomph. That's why we may need the skills of Zimbabwe to help us," she said.
Nothing more needs to be said.


Ed said...

"Any country where 80% of usable farmland is owned by 10% of the population is not structured for good social relations."

You mean like Canada for instance?

From the above StatsCan page:
"By 2001, there were 246,923 census farms, down almost 11% since 1996"

Even if there were 10 owners for each farm, that is still less than 10% of the population owing the farmland in Canada. If there is one owner per farm, we're down to a number more like 1%.

Dana said...

Sorry, I meant more to the effect of how that 10% is a visible minority... who happened to also oppress the majority in the past.

The numbers refer to the 10% who happen to be white.

In Canada, the farms were taken by legal means within the structures of Canadian law. So no one can really kick up a stink about it.

Now, if the native population in Canada ever reached a majority than there is no reason to think that the same social problem wouldn't present itself here.

Anonymous said...

Why are the people in Africa demanding that government confiscate farmland? It would be a lot easier if they voted in a government that takes the money away from the other people instead of land, and redistributes the money with nice-sounding programs like equalization payments and EI. Yes, much better, and a lot more respectable looking. No shouting and killing on the 6 o'clock news, and the people will hardly notice that they're sliding into poverty (until it's too late).

Anonymous said...

Voted a government to give back to the poor!! Don't be funny. They are too busy taking the money for themselves! They have already voted in the people they want, but they aren't doing anything for them. I don't agree with taking farm land away. If you want South Africa to be a wasteland like Zimbabwe, then go ahead, because that's what will happen.
The government is already making it easier for those who suffered during apartheid! You can't just hand things over. It'll just be the reverse of what happened in the past.

Anonymous said...

The problem is not in addressing a racial disparity in land ownership. The problem is in replacing "production" farms with subsistence ones.
If the new owners display the same production work ethic as the current ones, then there's no problem. But thats not likely going to happen, because:
a) Thats not the "African Way", culturally, and
b) The farms will go to a "select group of recipients". This is the 'African Way"...