I identified the moderate, conservative Ramaphosa faction, as opposed to the radical, racial Zuma faction. In this essay I will set out to argue why it would be better for South Africa if the Ramaphosa faction won.
As mentioned before, the Zuma faction has called for the expropriation of land without compensation. The Ramaphosa faction has expressed a desire for land reform, but done in a more moderate manner that would benefit all South Africans. Expropriation without compensation would be the worst option for South Africa. The agriculture sector employed 750 000 people in 1996, with the Western Cape’s agricultural sector providing jobs for 250 000 people in 2016.
In 2014, agriculture accounted for roughly 4% of South Africa’s GDP, while also being a net-exporter as an industry. As a net exporter, the agricultural sector is extremely important to the state, since it brings in more foreign currency into the country. Therefore, the South African agricultural sector is important to the South African economy, through providing jobs, contributing a sizeable amount to the country’s GDP, and being a net exporter.
In contrast, the current South African policy of land reformation had had disastrous results for the agricultural sector. In 2011, the government had only reformed 5% of land, well short of their goal of reforming 30% of land by 2014. Not only had the government failed to reach these goals, the majority of land that had been reformed had failed. When given the option of land or monetary compensation, the majority of beneficiaries chose the latter. In addition, a study has also found that between 70-90% of the land reform projects had failed, due to a lack of experience on the part of the new farmers or a lack of support from the government. Finally, the disastrous effects of expropriating land without compensation can clearly be seen from in the example of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe went from being a net-exporter to being one of Africa’s largest food importers.
Their food security had gone in into freefall and the threat of famine is a constant fear. Expropriating land without compensation had not benefitted anyone in Zimbabwe, and neither will it in South Africa.
Although any land reform would probably be liable to have a negative effect on the agricultural sector, the approach taken by Ramaphosa will undeniably be the lesser of two evils. He has not mentioned how he wishes to redistribute land, but he has placed emphasis on the fact that new land owners will need support from the government to turn a profit on their new farm. The lack of governmental support thus far had caused the most of new farms to fail.
The next point is the point of White Monopoly Capital, and the demonization of it by the Zuma faction. First and foremost, it must be mentioned that the phrase WMC had most likely been a phrase invented and introduced by the UK-based PR firm Bell Pottinger to divert attention away from Zuma’s doings. With that said, the idea of WMC is ridiculous. It is impossible to racially define or identify capital. Capital include things like the ownership of shares on the JSE, the owners of which are too various to be able to racially identify. Furthermore, a great deal of capital in South Africa is owned by individuals living overseas. In 2015, half of the top 40 shares on the JSE were owned by foreigners.
It is also a bad idea to demonize capital and regard it as the enemy. Capital is in truth the friend of a country’s economy, and thus its government. South Africa has been plagued by a lack of capital throughout the years. Recently, the ANC had correctly identified the unwillingness of the private sector to invest in South Africa as detrimental to economic growth.
This is a correct assessment. The fact is, though, that capital is needed to invest. Therefore, by demonizing capital and the owners of capital, the Zuma faction is creating a hostile environment for capital investment, and actively contributing to the stalling of South Africa’s economy. In contrast, the Ramaphosa faction has recognized that capital cannot be defined racially, and that it is not the enemy of South Africa.
In conclusion, Ramaphosa’s more moderate views on land reformation, and embrace of capital as a friend, would benefit the country more than the Zuma faction’s proposed policy of expropriation without compensation and demonizing of capital.