Expropriation of land without compensation jitters
Our Minister of Land Resources, Gwede Mantashe, recently tried to allay fears amongst whites concerning the expropriation of land without compensation (“ELWC”) – he’s reported to have said “it is not a policy to drive whites into the sea, that has never been the policy of the ANC and will never be the policy of the ANC”.
Whew, what a relief!
Without going into the history of land occupation in South Africa, as it is a massive and controversial subject of its own, I intend to look at the principle of ELWC - what I regard as "the legalised theft of private property".
I must say it amazes me how civilised and intelligent people talk so candidly about legalising the theft of private property, currently aimed only at land. Perhaps, they believe that by legislating on it, it somehow makes it respectable – if so, such thinking beggars belief! It’s not that I’m against addressing the ills of the past – this we must do. However, it’s how we address the issues that will determine the future of our beloved South Africa.
It started with race-based sports and tertiary education quotas. In principle these are obviously good and noble practices i.e. giving someone from a disadvantaged background the opportunity to develop and excel. However, race-based quotas, by definition, must involve inequity to deserving persons e.g. selecting a player for a national sporting team because of the colour of his/her skin and not his/her ability. This means that a player with a different colour skin, more deserving of a place in the team, on merit, must be omitted from the team, just because there is a limited number of players on a team!
How would you feel if you were a player who had been omitted from a team because of the colour of your skin?
Inequity also arises with quotas being applied to the limited positions available in our tertiary education institutions. Unless there’s a surplus of positions at these institutions, deserving applicants will be refused entry because of the colour of their skin. We now have the threat of expropriating privately owned land without compensation – although the method of its implementation is still unclear. The rhetoric would certainly indicate that this is aimed at the country’s white minority – I’m making that assumption here. Again, it’s a good and noble practice to give land to those without it, but to do this by stealing it from those who may have worked all their lives to pay for it? Surely not!
I must again ask: how would you feel if your land was being taken away from you, without any fair compensation, because of the colour of your skin?
Time will tell how the our government will deal with ELWC – it can do this in a fair and orderly fashion which will go some way to saving our economy from a Zimbabwe-style future, or it can do it in an unfair and disorderly fashion in which case we will condemn our children and grandchildren to living in a barren wasteland of poverty!
Oh dear, the responsibilities of being the government!