Land redistribution is a critical and sensitive issue in South Africa, with wide implications for the social, economic and political performance of the country, demanding Government’s urgent attention. Here is a brief overview from Kevin Lings regarding land expropriation in South Africa:
· There is a risk that South Africa may lose its longstanding self-sufficiency in agricultural production, to the detriment of the economy, unless this trend is reversed.
· With an election looming in 2019, the land issue is likely to generate heated political rhetoric for many months.
· Alarming though this will be for investors, STANLIB sees no signs that the ANC is contemplating a chaotic and indiscriminate land redistribution process.
· The lack of progress in resolving demand for land ownership, especially in recent years, has contributed to a growing urgency to find solutions. Those solutions have to satisfy the needs of the population as a whole while still encouraging international and domestic investment. Not an easy task.
· South Africa needs to encourage aspirant farmers. The existing farming population is ageing and the numbers are shrinking.
· Although much discussion has focused on agricultural land ownership, the policy debate is systematically shifting towards redistribution of urban land, for two key reasons.
o The first is that some surveys have shown that few people, especially younger people, want to farm. If they do, there is a lot of land and support potentially available.
o The second is that the rate of urbanization remains relatively high, leading to increasing pressure on the large cities to provide a viable long-term urban development solution.