Before we delve into this issue lets be clear that this is just another example of the tactic, by the ANC primarily, to divert from the mismanagement of the country whilst trying to loot what remains. It is directly from the Robert Mugabe textbook on governance. Examples abound, the most recent being the Coligny drama. (See Rian Malan’s article on this). The EFF (Economic Failure Forever) is desperate to get back into the limelight as their only calling card, the former president, has left the room and so they resort to clamouring for a measure that will not being any economic freedom to anyone.
Increasing desperation is the sign that accompanies the loss of hegemony.
First, who is going to feed the people if all the white farmer’s land is taken? From the rabid support by the ANC of Mugabe it appears that the fact that Zimbabwe used to be the breadbasket of Africa is ignored. Since he kicked all white farmers off their farms the country cannot feed itself and has to rely on donated food. Those white farmers have found work elsewhere but their farm labourers have not been so lucky.
Second, there’s no point in taking land from white farmers if the infrastructure is not in place to ensure that this land stays productive. Not a single land claim farm in this country, managed by the claimants, has remained productive. That is a massive failure on the part of the ANC. Some farm workers could become farm managers but this requires prolonged investment in their training and as is obvious the government has little interest in the hard work of teaching skills and consequently uplifting people. Organised agriculture throughout the country has made many offers to government to help in this regard but it has been repeatedly rebuffed.
Third, at least 80% of white-owned farmland is in turn owned by the banks so by taking the land the banks will be unburdened of their load. Do the politicians who are so anti-banker really want this? Also if you cannot use land to guarantee a loan then you are threatening the whole banking system which of course suits another myth, namely white monopoly capital.
Fourth, the people are sick. South Africa is on of the most obese nations on earth. There are many reasons for this however the primary reason is that the people are being fed the wrong food. Imagine the impact if the energy was spent on encouraging farmers to grow food that nourishes humans and heals the land, regardless of the age, sex or skin colour of the farmer. Sustainability is an outdated idea. Regenerative agriculture is the future.
Fifth, how does the scenario play out in the Western and Northern Cape? The original inhabitants, the San, have been practically exterminated therefore there are no possibilities for land claims.
Sixth, the government is the biggest landowner. It is black. The second biggest landowners are the tribal chiefs. They are also black. The chief’s land, being generally the most fertile, has the most potential to produce food for the people however it is overgrazed and mismanaged. No politician has the courage to take on the chiefs and so instead they try to bully white farmers, most of whom are making a humble living on marginal agricultural land.
Arguably the best example of how economically sterile land has become productive is the Amadlelo Agri project in the Eastern Cape. This is how land claims should be handled.
Finally all the talk about race is never going to get us moving ahead as a country. The debate around land should be that those farmers who are building their soils (and therefore water holding capacity) should be encouraged through various incentives and those who are destroying their soils should lose their farms.
28 February 2018