Letter: Land reform is no solution to big problems like poverty - Businesslive

27 May 2019 - Land reform addresses some profound moral wrongs, and, properly handled, offers some useful economic gains. But it is unlikely to be the foundation of a solution to SA’s unemployment and poverty malaise. And, mishandled, it will inflict great damage, undermining the country’s prospects all round.

Mphahlela M Rammutla “Land Is Still a Priority”, (May 23) appears to misunderstand the position of the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) regarding land reform. That it is not viewed by most South Africans as a priority for the government action is indeed reflected in our polling. Similar results have been identified by others.

South Africans accord a higher priority to jobs, personal safety and education. This is entirely predictable given the nature of the country’s population and its aspirations — again, something that may be discerned through polling.

That does not render land reform unimportant. Land reform addresses some profound moral wrongs, and, properly handled, offers some useful economic gains. But it is unlikely to be the foundation of a solution to SA’s unemployment and poverty malaise. And, mishandled, it will inflict great damage, undermining the country’s prospects all round.

Hence, our opposition to expropriation without compensation. It offers nothing to address the numerous documented problems with current land reform policy, and within existing land administration systems. On the current policy trajectory it will deliver very little to ordinary South Africans, but significantly enhance the power and latitude of the state.    

We at the Institute of Race Relations advocate a land reform programme that respects and enhances private property rights, and that empowers its beneficiaries, rather than seeing them as perpetual wards of the state. In the next months we will be releasing detailed policy proposals about how this can be achieved.

Terence Corrigan
Institute of Race Relations

https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/opinion/letters/2019-05-27-letter-land-reform-is-no-solution-to-big-problems-like-poverty/

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