One of the hottest topics in South Africa politics as long as I can remember is the concept of land reform.
Parties like the EFF advocate the theft of private land, while others oppose it.
This post is not about the ideology behind the notion. It doesn't matter what I say. It doesn't matter what anyone says. Everyone believes they are right on this issue, and no one is budging.
What I do want to consider is how little land will have ANY effect on long term wealth.
Right off the bat, let's consider the issue of population growth.
In 1910 in South Africa, there were about 4 million black South Africans and 1 million white.
Today, there are about 40 million black people in SA, and 4 million white.
The surface area of the country has not changed though.
Had the land been shared equally in 1910, today, black South Africans would have inherited considerably less land per capita than their white counterparts. Not because white people had been favored, but simply because their kids were inheriting smaller and smaller pieces every generation, due to population growth.
What is to stop that from happening if everything were split equally now? And do we weight the redistribution based on when the land act was created? If so, would black people get three quarters of the land?
My next issue with the notion of land as a solve everything economic band aid is the fact that land itself does not make you wealthy.
How does an empty piece of land make you wealthy? All a piece of land means is that you will have to pay property taxes.
I simply cannot wrap my head around how this will help.
How will moving from where you live now to an empty plot put food on your table or money in the bank? How will you build a home if you have no job? How will you afford to farm if you have no money?
The only thing I can think of is that 'land expropriation' is code for taking people's houses. Even if that wasn't theft though, what is the point?
Houses cost money to run for one thing, and for another, there are simply not enough houses in the country to allow all the people who want them to live in any sort of luxury (which is what I imagine they are dreaming of.) Ten families in a home aint luxurious in my book!
None of this makes ANY sense to me, at all.
This whole land issue makes no sense, because it will not solve any of the problems in SA today.
It will not make people rich. It will not give them jobs. It will not even be a long term solution, if you consider population growth.
Can someone PLEASE tell me what the logic behind all of this is, because it smells a lot like the stuff that shoots out of boy cows bums if I am honest.
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