PATRICK BULGER | Want land reform that works? Fine, let’s enter new territory

Only political direction can solve the land question, yet the project is doomed if left to politicians courting the popular will

05 August 2021 - 19:53 By patrick bulger

In the same way the popes of old suppressed the theory that Earth orbits the sun, liberation theory in SA has historically staked out the limits of discussion about land reform and its place and role in a democratic SA. The gospel that land in SA, stolen by settlers, must somehow be returned to the people has become such an article of faith that few even bother with elaborating on the details of forcing the round peg of the past into the square hole of the future. Any attempt to interpret the land issue with a solution that rights historical wrongs by anything less than the reverse engineering of history is shouted down, its bearer burnt at the social-media stake.

The middle and chattering classes, who take it upon themselves to plough the furrow of the land question on behalf of the rural masses, obsess over ownership. In part, and we are told this, ownership can be used to leverage wealth. The preachers of the religion of expropriation without compensation fail to see beyond their Elysian Field of title deeds. Behold the monocrop of ideas...

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