Could South Africa’s Land Reform go Awry?

Thursday, August 28, 2008 

LandSouth Africa is truly sitting on a time bomb when it comes to land reforms. But then the situation could only explode if the land redistribution is done with such acrimony as was the case in Zimbabwe.

Recently, South Africa’s Parliamentary Committee on land reforms put on hold a land reform bill designed to expropriate white-owned farms. It appears there hasn’t been enough stakeholder consultation on the question. It is no secret though that little land has been available to blacks since the end of apartheid in 1994.

The ANC government plans to redistribute one third of white-owned farm land before 2014. The minority whites constitute 10%of the population, but own almost 90% of land with only 4% of redistributed to blacks already.

Extreme caution is urged in implementing this policy, so as not to stray into the corrupt populist enclave Mugabe created for himself and his cronies when he forcibly implemented his land reforms. Most of all, the policy should bear in mind the economics of breaking up commercially rewarding lands into peasantry lots.