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South Africa’s Constitutional Amendment to Take White-Owned Land

             8/4/2018

South Africans

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

It was recently announced in South Africa that the ruling party, the African National Congress, plans to move forward with plans to amend the South African constitution to allow the government to take land unwillingly and without compensation. This would be a very serious change in policy, since the government has until this point been operating on a model of voluntary sale and purchase of land in efforts to redistribute it, with the government buying land from willing farmers and other landowners. After first proposing this change last December, the ANC— as reported by Reuters— announced last month that it would begin the amendment process— a risky move politically and economically that they had previously attempted to avoid.

There are several key issues at play, all of which are very important for Americans to take note of. Firstly, the policy sounds like something from the Marxist playbook of Vladimir Lenin or Mao Zedong: forcibly taking from the “haves” to give to the “have-nots.” This policy has never solved anything, and in fact would likely only cause more problems for South Africa. While specifics of the plan are vague, most hypothesize that farms will be a major target, meaning that agriculture (an important piece of South Africa’s developing economy) would be greatly destabilized; one only needs to look at Zimbabwe’s current messy and anocratic situation to see how a similar problem caused by a similar policy would turn out. Also, as pointed out by ZeroHedge, most people that this land would be given to would not have the finances to maintain their new estates nor the know-how to keep the farm in order to profit from it, meaning defaults and foreclosures would surge and cripple the banking system. Furthermore, as Reuters noted in their own report on the new plan, the uncertainty of property rights will be a major red flag to potential foreign investors in the country.

Those familiar with South Africa’s history will know that foreign investment was a large part of how the country developed their economy in efforts to recover from apartheid and the struggle to end it (since the ANC militant arm, MK, had conducted a number of attacks on economic strongholds), and Mandela took measures to attract investment to the country for that reason. Most importantly, the root of the proposal itself can be summarized rather fully and accurately as Marxist policies that are driven by divisive racial rhetoric to effect drastic and rapid change— much like we see with the American far left. In addition, there have been allegations of assaults and even murders on and of white farmers, and refusals to allow white South Africans to travel out of the country. While credibility is ambiguous, these allegations are cause for concern. Taking all of these factors into account, Americans ought to look at South Africa’s current and near-future state of affairs as a cautionary tale of allowing the left to go unchecked.

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