Cyril Ramaphosa, the newly elected president of South Africa, has stated he will begin the process of expropriation of farmland from white South African farmers without compensation, and then redistribute the land to black South Africans. Could these policies spell disaster for the South African economy?
Cyril Ramaphosa vows to ‘return’ land to black South Africans. Cyril Ramaphosa, leader of South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), and newly elected president, has promised to confiscate lands that have been owned by white farmers since the 1600s and “return” it to the black citizens of the country.
Last Thursday, Ramaphosa assumed office after the scandal afflicted Jacob Zuma resigned following years of corruption allegations and incompetence. Ramaphosa was the only candidate nominated during the South African Parliament session.
Ramaphosa’s ascent to power marks a turning point for South Africa, after the slow demise of the illustrious ruling party under Jacob Zuma.
Cyril Ramaphosa speech reveals land redistribution plans. In the speech, Ramaphosa stated: “The expropriation of land without compensation is envisaged as one of the measures that we will use to accelerate the redistribution of land to black South Africans.”
Following his state-of-the-nation address, supporters of Ramaphosa sang and danced outside the National Assembly building, while members of the opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters, stormed out of the chamber in protest.
The newly elected South African president promised that this drastic move wouldn’t damage either the country’s agriculture or economy. Unfortunately, an outcome as good as this is highly doubtful. Robert Mugabe’s land reform crippled Zimbabwe economy.
In an effort to right similar colonial and Apartheid-era injustices that existed in Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe initiated a land redistribution agenda in 1999 to 2000. Thousands of farms owned by white people were commandeered by the Zimbabwe government, and the farmers were involuntarily removed from their land.
Prior to these farmers being removed from their land, Zimbabwe was known as the breadbasket of southern Africa. The country was home to world-class farmers who played an integral role in providing food for the rest of the region.
Unfortunately, within just a couple years of Mugabe’s “land redistribution” efforts, food production in the country came to a standstill. Without its adept farmers stewarding over the land, Zimbabwe went from being an agricultural export powerhouse to having to rely on handouts from the United Nations’ World Food Program.
What followed was hyperinflation along with a multi-decade depression. Land redistribution destined to fail.
One would think that politicians in neighbouring South Africa would take notice of the grave consequences Zimbabwe had to endure as a result of Mugabe’s failed policies and take measures themselves to avoid going down the same road.
South Africa had the pleasure of witnessing first-hand the devastating effects of Mugabe’s land redistribution since these policies resulted in millions of starving Zimbabwean refugees storming across their borders. And for some reason, this is exactly the policy that they’ve chosen to adopt.
Regrettably, we live in a world where clear-cut realities and limitations exist. One of these realities is that land redistribution, even with the noblest intentions, simply does not work.
What do you think? Is South Africa bound to suffer the same fate as Zimbabwe did during 1999 to 2000?