Black ‘land hunger’ in South Africa is a big lie
Anthea Jeffery, head of Policy Research at the Institute for Race Relations (IRR), a political think tank in Johannesburg, South Africa, revealed that black South Africans have virtually no interest in land reform.
Published: March 1, 2018, 10:26 am
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s push for land expropriation without compensation is ostensibly due to a “pressing” and “urgent” hunger for farming land belonging to mostly Afrikaners, he says.
But comprehensive and countrywide opinion polls commissioned by the IRR from 2015 to 2017 have repeatedly shown that the great majority of black South Africans have almost zero interest in land reform.
In the IRR’s 2016 field survey, for instance, only 1 percent of black respondents – down from 2 percent the previous year – said that “more land reform” was the “best way to improve lives”. By contrast, 73 percent of black people saw “more jobs and better education” as the “best way” to improve their lives, Jeffery says.
“In similar vein, in the IRR’s 2017 field survey, only 1 percent of black respondents identified ‘speeding up land reform’ as a top priority for the government,” she added.
“Even among people who were dispossessed of land under apartheid laws – and were most likely to have a strong wish to see their land restored to them – there has been little interest in land as opposed to cash compensation.”
When the land restitution process began in 1994, some 79 700 valid land claims were submitted by December 1998. By 2013, as the then minister of rural development and land reform, Gugile Nkwinti, pointed out, roughly 76 000 successful claims had been disposed of. However, only about 5 800 of these successful claimants, some 8 percent, chose to have their land restored to them. The remaining 92 percent preferred to receive cash compensation instead.
A surprised Nkwinti noted: “We thought everybody when they got a chance to get land, they would jump for it. Now only 5 856 have opted for land restoration. We no longer have a peasantry; we have wage earners now.”
So the 76 000 successful land claimants, faced with a real-life choice, opted for cash rather than land. Black people wanted money because they have become too urbanised to do physically demanding farm labour.
In the IRR’s 2016 survey, for instance, respondents were asked whether they preferred “a political party which focuses on faster growth and more jobs”, or one which “focuses on land expropriation to redress past wrongs”.
Given this choice, 84 percent of black respondents opted for growth and jobs, whereas only 7 percent wanted major land redistribution as redress for apartheid injustices, Jeffery said.
Similar results have emerged from a comprehensive opinion survey commissioned by eNCA and carried out by MarkData in September 2017 among a representative sample of some 5 000 people, including about 2 700 self-declared ANC voters.
Most blacks – even most ANC voters – wanted the ruling party to embark on “more pro-business policies”, rather than to pursue “radical policies/redistribution”.
Support among ANC voters for “more pro-business policies” was strong in all provinces, while support for “more radical policies/redistribution” was weak countrywide.
These surveys confirm that the great majority of ordinary ANC voters do not want the same as the ANC and EFF leaders who seem determined to push ahead with a globalist, Marxist agenda.
Political analyst RW Johnson believes “much of the ANC leadership has completely lost contact with what most ANC voters think – and may not even be conscious of the huge divide that separates their assumptions from those of their electorate”.
The ruling black elite is however keenly aware of how popular race-baiting has become.
Jeffery told Fin24 that banks too could be facing disaster in the coming landgrab. “How will the bank get the money it is still owed? It can’t foreclose on the property, because the state now owns the property.”
Jeffery said the when the farmer defaults because of land confiscation, the bank that has no relationship with the government, will not be able to recover the money.
“If this default happened on a massive scale, it could be disastrous for banks,” she explained. If the government decides not to compensate the banks when taking land, R160 billion could be wiped off the banks’ books.
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