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An open letter to the ANCYL

11 June 2012, 19:09

It is with great sadness in my heart that I write this letter today. Every morning I read through my news feeds hoping to see how our government and the ruling party are working towards a better life for all us citizens. In recent months I have been pleasantly surprised by many of the stances and decisions taken by the ruling party.

Decision that are smart, insightful and focused on what is best for the country as a whole. But then the ANCYL pops up on my newsfeed and you ruin my day and it seems that you will not be content until you ruin our country too.

I know I am no doubt going to be labelled a racist for writing a letter that is directly opposed to the Youth Leagues political ambitions. However I can assure you that this piece will contain as little reference to race as possible and will stick to fact throughout.

My goal is not to fuel racial divide but to point out the flaws in the arguments and statements your League have made recently.

Let’s look at a few of these arguments:

·         "We are told that investors are going to be scared away when we speak about the economy. Good riddance. South Africans will take over." *

Foreign investment cannot be taken over by South Africans hence the “foreign” part of it. We cannot remain part of a global economy without foreign investment and partnership, this is economics 101, as well as common sense. Foreign investment is critical to creating the jobs we as a country need to resolve the actual issues of unemployment and every time you say the words nationalisation you are costing the country potential jobs.  

·         "You can bring Gear [the Growth, Employment and Redistribution programme], you can bring RDP [the Reconstruction and Development Programme].... If you don't touch section 25 of the Constitution, any other policies that you are bringing will only be a cosmetic exercise,"**

For the sake of this argument Section 25 protects privately owned land form being seized or purchased without the owner’s consent. The clause that you wish amended is the willing buyer, willing seller clause specifically aimed at agricultural land, based on statements made by the ANCYL. One that would give the government the right to take land without adequate reason or compensation and this would be the worst possible thing for our country in terms of food security and skills retention.

You cannot just replace the years of experience and specialisation that our current commercial farmers have overnight which is evident with the fact that 8/10 land distribution programmes have failed or are failing.

By displacing these farmers you are effectively placing our countries food security at risk, which will lead to shortages and even further unnecessary rises in food prices.

Currently the state owns somewhere between 13% and 25% of the land in the country, land that can be used to create new farming opportunities so why run the risk of potentially destroying productive farms? 

Agriculture contributes less than 3% of our GDP, if it is the redistribution of wealth you are after you are barking up the wrong tree.

Besides this amending the constitution requires a 2/3rds majority vote, which will be difficult to attain with the current divisions between the ANC and its traditional support base regarding this topic.

Yet you continue supporting this course of action as reasonable solution, when the problem is much more complicated and every expert on land reform disagrees with it including the ANC itself.   

·         "All the professions are controlled by the white man. This must come to an end. The state must intervene."

Specific skills and qualifications are necessary for most professional job positions, like doctors, lawyers and engineers. It is not a race issue in the slightest. We have many of these professionals of all races entering the job market, unfortunately training takes time, taking up to 9 years in some cases to be fully qualified. Things are changing it is just going to take more time. BBBEE is still very much growing and developing as our democracy grows, in this case patience is a virtue. Placing further pressure on the private sector to conform may lead to many small companies closing up shop and cost more jobs. Which I believe is not what the ANCYL is aiming to achieve.

·         “If they don’t want to see angry black youths flooding their farms they must come to the party. Whites must volunteer some of the land and mines they own.”***

We still live in a free democratic country, where inciting violence against another race is considered a hate crime. Even if the members of the Youth League had a right to the land they wish to claim, surely this right would only extend to the land and not the infrastructure and development. Never mind the loans from the bank. Do the farmers keep the debt?

So to summarise your argument, you expect that 3rd or 4th generation farmers should give you farms and mines, with the entire developed infrastructure and no debt. To add insult to this injury you expect the farmers to stay on and train the new farmers on how best to run the land that has just been taken from them. This sounds like a plan that has not been thought through properly and if you disagree and planning was involved, then your envisioned outcomes can only be nefarious.    

There are many other examples of arguments such as these, arguments that are not nation building, not in the interest of those the ANCYL are supposedly protecting and most of all not logical.  

In all honesty the Youth Leagues opinions and arguments are all incredibly flawed, short-sighted and rash. However as the Leagues commands the media’s attention statements like these still affect foreign and local investment while spreading fear under the populace.

As an organisation that aims to lead its members into a brighter future it is your duty to learn from the past and apply the necessary foresight to ensure you reach goals that are sustainable and beneficial for all.  

The comments you are making at this stage are not representing the best interests of our people or our nation, and I am afraid that if you continue to fan the flames of this mindless militaristic course the only brightness in our country’s future will be the fires of everything burning around us and that would break my heart.  

*http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/Politics/Good-riddance-to-foreign-investors-ANCYL-20120608

**http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/Politics/ANCYL-warns-of-land-grabs-20120601

*** http://mg.co.za/article/2012-06-05-ancyl-land-reform

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