During the festive season, we will anxiously await clear indications by the government on how expropriation of land without compensation will be handled and which farms will be expropriated. Suppose we will have to wait until May 2019 after the election and see how this will unfold. However, there is not enough land and expectations have now been created that the only way out of poverty is through land expropriation without compensation.
It will be interesting to know how the intricate balance between the approximate 20-30 million people who expect land and the few thousand who are afraid to lose land will be implemented or dealt with in a “responsible” and “orderly” manner.
One would argue that foreign investors would irrespective of the “orderly” way in which expropriation without compensation will take place, still be hesitant to invest in South Africa and as our friend in the USA told me, “I must get my head read to invest in a country where property rights are not a human right”
South Africa has a trade and budget deficit and therefore needs access to international financial markets and foreign investments to pay for its bloated public sector, and to pay social grants to all those unemployed people.
If there was a will, the government in the past 24 years, under the current Constitution could have established a comprehensive and progressive land reform program. The billions that were and are still looted by government officials and scrupulous private tycoons could have gone a long way to accomplish the required reform program. Now for reasons unknown, the land issue before the next general election in May 2019 has after 24 years now become the main issue in these elections.
The latest court judgement on Jacob Zuma’s SADC Protocol not only has far reaching implications for the South African Presidency, but also for the South African Government with their Land Expropriation Without Compensation policy. This Constitutional ruling should also send a clear message that farmers might use international legal processes to ensure that eventually this Government may be held responsible enabling expropriation without compensation.
South Africa’s rating was kept unchanged by Standard and Poor’s (S&P) one of the largest international rating agencies despite the motion put forward in February 2018 and S& P reacted “ “It is still too early to tell how the process will unfold, but we expect the rule of law, property rights and enforcements of contracts will remain in place and will not significantly hamper investments in South Africa.”
Farming is a highly capital-intensive sector of the economy, and farmers depend on their banker, not only to buy their farms, but also to provide essential working capital. If land is expropriated without compensation, the banks will collapse. Who will then provide the essential working capital? On the other hand, if the farms collapse because of lack of available capital, then up to 90% of the existing disadvantaged community is at risk of starvation.
Alongside the expropriation of land without compensation, South African farm murders have made headlines locally as well as abroad and it is common knowledge that it is currently twice as dangerous to be a farmer in South Africa than a South African police officer. South Africa has one of the world’s highest murder rates and the murder rate among South African farmers is three times that of the standard murder rate in this country.
In the mean time job losses and reduced capital spending by most farmers in this country as well as brutal farm murders halts development in the farming sector as well as other sectors of our economy. Is this the 2019 expectations of South- Africans?
Only time will tell!!