Follow Zimbabwe’s Bad Example

From the May 2007 Trumpet Print Edition

Following in the footsteps of Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, the South African government has started to expropriate white-owned land for redistribution to blacks. The first of these enforced seizures was carried out in February.

For some years, under South Africa’s “land reform” policy, white-owned farms have steadily been taken over based on a “willing buyer, willing seller” principle. During this time, immense pressure has been placed on farmers, with squatters illegally occupying white-owned farms and government security doing nothing about it. Last year, the South African government went one step further by giving white farmers an ultimatum: Sell their farms for an agreed price within six months or face being forcefully evicted from their farms.

Now, the government is making good on that threat. In its first expropriation of privately owned land, the government seized a 62,271-acre farm in Barkley West owned by the Evangelical Lutheran Church on February 13.

This same type of land redistribution program was a primary cause of Zimbabwe’s economic ruin. Zimbabwe suffers from uncontrollable inflation rates and unemployment hovering around 70 percent. It is believed that South Africa may follow in the unsuccessful footsteps of its northern neighbor. Making whites turn over their farms to people with, in many cases, little or no farming experience could greatly hurt the economy. South Africa, which has been so richly blessed in natural resources, may find itself trying to live off fallow ground.