Dangerous information

Land Restitution is an emotional issue.

It’s not really a practical issue since recent history has shown that not all beneficiaries of land restitution ultimately want to work the land. This is also entirely reasonable given the change of our economy from a primary economy to a secondary and tertiary economy over the last 50 years.

So when I read that the SA Institute of Race Relations states that more land could have been returned to black beneficiaries if money was not offered instead, I just wonder what the point is.

If people are accepting cash rather than land, it may well be because they want the cash rather than the land. Given land, I’m not aware that there is a prohibition on selling that land (which would be a poorer form of property right than they originally had so surely can’t be allowed) so we could end up in the same situation.

The danger for me is that the measures of land restitution could so easily, accurately and misleadingly, refer to the amount of land that has been restituted, or the amount of land currently in the hands of black South Africans, when this is clearly not an accurate measure of what progress has been achieved.