Land expropriation will ultimately bankrupt the state

I really wonder if the honorable Mr Malema has though through his cry for nationalization of all property in South Africa. His wonderful reassurance that you will not be ejected from the house you live in means precious little to anyone with a brain larger than that of a bird.

The main pivot points of our Constitution come to mind: 1) Free and fair democratic elections, 2) a president may only serve a maximum of two terms in office, 3) a free judiciary independent of Government and politics, 4) a totally free press and freedom of opinion and thought for all the people of the country, 5) a right to primary education, 6) a right to healthcare for all, 7) an irrevocable right of tenure, i.e. a right to own your own property. Of course the Constitution protects other rights not mentioned, but to me these 7 are the most important and can never be altered.

Let’s consider this issue now of Malema’s that all property in the country must be forfeited to the state. The first issue is that every single citizen or business owner, or mine, or farmer, or bank, or manufacturer etc. must therefore immediately stop paying any bond or debt on their property.

If the state wants the land, then it can take over every single bond against each and every property. Secondly, every single property owner must stop paying rates and taxes. These must all be paid by the state, now that the land is theirs. Rates and taxes are due by the owner of the property. Goodbye every single municipality in this country.

Thirdly, every single property owner must now stop paying their municipal water accounts, as the right to water for all is enshrined in the Constitution. Why then pay for it? All banks and building societies and financial institutions that lend money will now go broke, as they will not be prepared to lend any money if the client cannot offer any collateral should he default on payment.

The mines and industry will no longer be able to expand with capital projects, as no local or international investor will lend them money as they have no assets to back the loans up with. Anyway, why should they invest in a business or mine that the Government has now nationalized. If the government wants the property, let them come up with the development capital. Banks and land banks will no longer lend any money to our struggling farmers, as the land is no longer theirs. Hallo famine, starvation and food shortages for all.

Everyone agrees that land dispossession during apartheid was wrong, but by now deciding that all must belong to the state is equally wrong. Two wrongs do not make a right and never will. There is a massive exodus of black people into the cities. What they want most is to own and have title deeds to the urban properties they now occupy. If they have title deeds, they can raise loans against the worth of the property they own. Even those farmers in previous homelands that have decided to continue farming, all they want is legal title to the land they now farm, so they can also get loans to develop and improve the farm. Farming is an extremely difficult, hard and tiring affair.

Only those who have farmed for generations are likely to make a success of it. Skills must be passed down from grandfather to father to son. 90% of blacks involved in settled land claims opted for a cash payment rather than receiving land to farm. Surely this says something about the general attitude among most blacks today.

“Hell no, leave farming to the desperate, all I want to do is go to the city where I can make a much better living thank you. Let me own my house in the city, that is what I really want.”

Just a bit of local history to throw into the pot. Shaka Zulu, Dingaan and Cetshwayo all chased the Ndebele off their lands and sent them fleeing for their lives into Zimbabwe. If the present argument holds water, then why do these Ndebele who were chased off their land, not now have a rightful claim to large areas of farm land in KwaZulu-Natal? The reason they are not interested is that they have made a new and happy life up in Zimbabwe. Past disposition is past disposition. They have simply moved on. What happened to their grandparent’s grandparents is of absolute no concern to them now.

Finally, mess around with people’s rightful property and try to unlawfully take it away from them and civil war will surely follow. If one wants to know what civil war is like, simply look north to Syria and all the horror is there clear for all to see.

So Mr Honorable Malema, with the election of Cyril, the whole business confidence in the country soared, credit agencies are looking at us sympathetically, the rand has strengthened in leaps and bound. Why must you know try to destroy this extreme air of optimism with some purely populist nonsense, simply to gather your political party some extra votes come election time. Is it worth destroying the whole country simply so select political party can call in a few extra votes.

Madness all madness, this land expropriation without compensation. Motlanthe in his commission, found that the constitution as is, is still one of the best in the world to address land redistribution. Why try and fix something that is not broken.

Let’s hope this whole issue can die a terrible but very fast death, for the good of all the citizens of this beautiful country of ours.

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