VIPuhleeze! If your land is grabbed‚ blame the ANC

11 May 2018 - 06:59
A policeman stands guard as the presidential convoy heads back to the ANC's national executive committee meeting in Pretoria on November 28 2016.
A policeman stands guard as the presidential convoy heads back to the ANC's national executive committee meeting in Pretoria on November 28 2016.
Image: AFP/Mujahid Safodien

On Wednesday‚ the magnificent fact checkers and reality auditors at AfricaCheck confirmed a staggering statistic: the South African government spends as much on protecting its senior bigwigs as it spends on land reform.

The claim‚ first made by the DA’s head of policy‚ Gwen Ngwenya‚ seems‚ at first glance‚ a shocking one: according to Treasury figures‚ the government’s 2018/19 budget for VIP protection is R2.9-billion‚ while it has set aside just R2.7-billion for land reform.

The AfricaCheck report did point out that a further R3.4-billion is budgeted for “restitution” under the rural development and land reform budget‚ which is technically part of the land reform push. But the fact remains that‚ according to the state’s own accounting categories‚ the blue-light boys get more than the people trying to figure out how to unravel a 400-year-old mess.

This seems alarming for obvious reasons. Land reform is not just a bauble to dangle in front of the electorate ahead of next year’s poll. It is a process that will define the future of this country.

Done properly‚ it will‚ for a while‚ open a window through which South Africa might grasp a more equal‚ just and prosperous era. Done badly‚ or not at all‚ it will guarantee decades of rancour‚ bitterness and‚ quite possibly‚ war.

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