Whose land is it anyway? Mngxitama, Roodt butt heads over expropriation

07 November 2018 - 08:21 By Ernest Mabuza
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Andile Mngxitama. File photo.
Andile Mngxitama. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images / Beeld / Deaan Vivier

Expropriation of land without compensation and fair distribution of land would be good for economic development and historical redress‚ Black First Land First (BLF) leader Andile Mngxitama said on Tuesday evening.

He said land was stolen by whites and this land must be returned to its rightful black owners.

Mngxitama was speaking at the Rumble in the Urban Jungle debate hosted by the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Cape Town. He was debating with economist Dawie Roodt.

“In SA‚ if we were to look at just two sectors‚ agriculture and mining‚ we argue that because of the inefficiency of those sectors… you will still have to radically redistribute those sectors.”

Mngxitama said the value of mining in SA was about R20-trillion in terms of the known mineral resources‚ but mining only employed 400‚000 people. “That is highly inefficient. Only for that reason you should be redistributing that economic sector‚” he said

Mngxitama claimed 35‚000 white people in South Africa owned 85 % of the land. “If we took all the white people who own about 80% of the land‚ they cannot fill a stadium‚” he said.

He said agriculture did not provide more than 700‚000 jobs.

“For these two reasons‚ both historical redress and even for economic reasons‚ you will actually do land expropriation without compensation‚” said Mngxitama.

Mngxitama warned that a land war was inevitable in SA.

Roodt‚ however‚ said according to research‚ fewer than 5% of black people in SA considered land to be the most important issue. “The most important issue is unemployment - we want jobs‚ we want to grow the economy in order to alleviate poverty in SA‚” said Roodt.

Roodt said farms were not the place where wealth creation happened in a modern economy. “People do not want farms. People want to stay in cities‚ where they can have proper and decent jobs. We are not going to break agricultural land into millions of small pieces and settle millions of small farmers in SA‚” he said.

Roodt said everywhere in the world farms were getting bigger‚ not smaller – and employing fewer people. “Nowhere in the world are farms employing more people; everywhere in the world farms are employing fewer people‚” he said. 

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