In its quarterly market research survey, the South African Institute of Race Relations (IRR) released a poll on South African’s views of expropriation without compensation (EWC). The topic has been dominating policy debates and media waves, with radical elements of the African National Congress (ANC) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) calling for not only expropriating previously stolen land, but for complete state ownership of the country.
The way the debate has been presented by academics, the media and politicians makes it seem that the argument is truly divisive. A recent report by the IRR shows that conflict over EWC may be overblown by the media and select politicians.
The main findings of the report are:
27% of all voters have not heard of expropriation without compensation (EWC).
41% of all voters who have heard of EWC, “Somewhat” or “Strongly” oppose the policy.
30% of all voters who have heard of EWC, “Somewhat” or “Strongly” support the policy.
51% of all voters believe an alternative to EWC should be pursued, while 17% believe no land reform is necessary.
68% of all voters believe “Individuals should have the right to own land in their private capacity”.
31% of all voters believe “All land in South Africa should be owned by the government”.
However, support for EWC collapses when respondents are asked whether government should be able to take land they own themselves. 90% of all voters are “Somewhat” or “Strongly” opposed this.
The main report can be read here.
The report confirms a common suspicion that calls for EWC are just the uttering of an angry and vocal minority, given undue attention by a media looking for cheap views and political brownie-points. But there lies the problem. A minority political group is being allowed to dictate the South African discourse. Rather than discussing issues that South Africans truly care about, like jobs and crime, we are being forced to engage in a debate over property rights – something that all reasonable people agree on.
A lack of political education and foresight is very noticeable in the debate. While 31% of voters stated that they believe “All land in South Africa should be owned by the government”, 90% of voters opposed the government taking their own property. This belies some initial thoughtlessness among voters. A thoughtlessness that unfortunately underlies pretty much all socialists, who don’t realise that they would be some of the first to have their property taken from them and have themselves thrown in the gulag for un-stately behaviour.
The core of the support for EWC is based on ignorance. Ignorance of what South Africans really want and need. Ignorance of the ramifications. Ignorance of economics. Ignorance of history. And, fundamentally, ignorance of basic human decency. One can forgive the rural dweller who has been left behind due to the teachers’ unions and the ANC’s destroyed education system, but one cannot forgive the woke journalists, politicians, students and academics who continue to spout total EWC as godsend. It is a fanatacism that risks destroying this country, and at out current pace, it will destroy us sooner rather than later.