Category Archives: land redistribution

White farmers turned Rhodesia into the breadbasket of the region

Living in Rhodesia in ’76, Dalrymple read up on the question of land distribution. He

came to the utopian (and false) conclusion that a reform in which white-owned commercial farmland was redistributed to African peasants could serve the cause of justice without reducing production.

The whites, he writes,

were 5% of the population and owned half the land (the better half too). The commercial farmers among them were a small minority of a small minority. There was no doubt that at the historic root of their ownership (not very far back in time, either) was the ruthless use of force and fraud. There was also no doubt that they had turned Rhodesia into the breadbasket of the whole region.

Land expropriation, when it came,

neither served justice nor preserved production. It was not the peasants who benefited from it, but the régime’s cronies.

Production fell 90%

and turned a country that had long been a magnet for immigration into one of mass emigration. The alternative to mass emigration was mass starvation. The land expropriation played its part in Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation, one of the most dramatic in history.

An EFFing catastrophe in the making

Dalrymple points out that the potential long-term, and even short-term, effects of the move to change the South African constitution to allow white-owned land to be expropriated without compensation are of course

catastrophic.

A crisis will be produced

to dwarf Zimbabwe’s, with starvation and famine avertable only if 10m or 15m South Africans succeed in finding somewhere to migrate to.

Julius Malema

The motion in parliament was proposed by Julius Malema, who leads the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). They dress entirely in red. The EFF

calls for radical redistribution of wealth, as if an economy were a stew or soup to be ladled out in portions.

The EFF leader,

who, if the large financial scandals connected with his person are anything to go by, excludes himself from his own economic egalitarianism, said in 2016 that he was not calling for the slaughter of whites — not yet.

Dalrymple explains that South Africa’s ruling party

does not consider the current ownership of land legitimate, for only illegitimacy could justify expropriation without compensation. Even without putting it into practice, therefore, the motion is likely to have a deleterious effect on South African farming and agricultural production, for who would invest in property that can be seized at the stroke of a pen, and is not regarded truly as his own?

As if a collapse of agricultural production were not bad enough, expropriation without compensation would also bring about

either the collapse of the South African banks, for South African farmers are deeply indebted, or confer huge debt obligations upon the government. And this is so even if (what is very unlikely) the redistribution of land were carried out in other than a grossly corrupt way, without political favouritism.