Forbes Contributor: South Africa Following Venezuela’s Path to Failure

Julius Malema (Gianluigi Guercia / AFP / Getty)
Gianluigi Guercia / AFP / Getty

Forbes magazine contributor Lorenzo Montanari notes in a recent op-ed that President Donald Trump’s tweet about South Africa’s new policy of “expropriation without compensation” has exposed that land reform policy as a Venezuela-style scam.

Montanari, who is director of international programs and affairs for Americans for Tax Reform, notes that South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s attempt to defend the land reform policy from Trump’s implied criticism made matters worse rather than better by promising that expropriation without compensation would make land use more profitable.

He writes (original links):

Ramaphosa paints the issue as one of race-equity and creating equality of opportunity. He told the Financial Times [in response to Trump] “What [we] now want to do is to unlock the utilisation of our land by spreading it among our people — so that the land can be properly and usefully utilised for the majority of our people.” Except the facts tell a different story.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Seizing white owned farm land and redistributing it to Black farmers does not equate to equality of opportunity or ensure that it will be “properly and usefully utilized”. It is a government power grab that ensures the poor will become poorer as opportunities diminish.

His words mirror the late Hugo Chavez and current Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro, who claimed expropriation of land from the rich and redistribution to the poor would yield greater prosperity and well-being. It has resulted in inflation above 40,000 percent, 87 percent of people living below the poverty land, massive food shortages, all despite that the country sits on top of the world’s largest oil reserves. Venezuelan economist Sary Levy-Cariente warns “since 2004 weakened property rights advanced a series of rural and urban land confiscations… and now is suffering from an extreme case of scarcity and hyperinflation.”

Black South Africans already have access to land restitution. The Restitution of Land Rights Act entitles all people and communities who had land forcibly taken from them to have it returned or to be given compensation.  According to the World Bank, by 2016 more than 80 percent of claims were finalized, and 90 percent of the time claimants chose compensation. Simply, the government has missed its target to redistribute 30 percent of arable to land to black South Africans – because black South Africans don’t want it.

Read Montanari’s full article here.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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