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The Fox 5366
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Who Owns South Africa's Land?

13 March 2014, 13:16
If you've ever flown over South Africa, or even simply driven across it, you'll know that there's no shortage of land. I am yet to see a good explanation of who owns it all, however.
Land is a critical issue in this country, especially in the lead-up to elections. The reason is obvious: we are South African through the land, not simply our green ID books.
To ask 'who is South African' and then look at historical roots or skin colour is misdirected - rather look at who owns South Africa.
Can a tenant in a house claim it as his own? You might say that until we all own a piece of South Africa, we're not South African - we have no piece of the country to call our own, where we can just sit down and go to sleep and not be chased away by somebody else.
I've heard before the argument that there is no global over-population - rather, the earth is suffering from a food shortage and over-concentration of people in urban centres. However, strictly looking at the countless miles of completely 'empty' land in South Africa - not even visibly being farmed - I have to just wonder if this isn't the largest failure of resource allocation ever seen.
What would it mean for the collective psyche of all South Africans if we all owned at least a piece of the country big enough to build a house on? If we didn't have to buy that land - if we were given our own piece of land with our ID books at 16 as a right-of-passage to real adulthood.
I'm not talking about a piece of land on Clifton's beaches or the Sandton CBD. Just a block of land half a mile from Kokstad, or Pofadder would be fine. It's not about using it one day, it's just about the concept of owning it. If the rest of the world turns against you, you can still return to your little piece of land (which can never be sold) and try to grow a vegetable garden or sell crafts to passing motorists or dig for gold or anything else land-owners usually do.
Instead we're told that all the land is either bought or owned by the State, for reasons that are never explained to us. Certainly they're not doing a lot with all the land - often there's not so much as a lone goat to be spotted on acre upon acre. So who DOES own this land, and why is it just sitting there?
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