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Saturday, 24 January 2009

Confessions of a landless person

In an article in the Business Day's Weekender edition, one Andile Mngxitama (try and pronounce his surname quickly 5x in a row…) a Johannesburg based civil rights activist, launches a tedious Marxist tirade about the so-called racism of farmers and calls for state intervention.

Mr Mngxitama wants the state to forcibly remove white farmers' land, and hand it out to peasants. While reading the article, it struck me that I am also a victim of colonialism. I am a landless person too. My garden is hopelessly too small to plant anything worth my while. If I were to try and survive off crops planted in my garden, I'd probably starve.

However, the same would apply if I were to be given a large piece of land in most of South Africa. I have no knowledge of agriculture. I would not know when to plant, when to harvest, of what sort of crops to plant in the area. I would be lucky to survive, because I do not have agricultural skills.

The above is exactly the problem with Mngxitama's demands. Simply expropriating white farmers' land and handing it to black peasants, resolves nothing. It does not provide them with the necessary skills to farm. It does not provide capital to buy seed. Mngxitama would no doubt argue that the state should provide these, but the reality is this is Africa and the ANC government – by definition an incompetent regime, whose sole skill is corruption and stealing. Black peasant farmers won't receive effective assistance, because the ANC regime is fundamentally incapable of running a kindergarten, let alone a country.

Mngxitama's demands will have only one outcome: it will destroy agriculture. White farms will be expropriated and handed to black peasants without skills or capital. Within 2 years these farms will disintegrate. Their crops will wither, the livestock will be eaten within a month, the buildings will collapse, the equipment will be sold for booze, and the beneficiaries will be no better off than before.

With the destruction of agriculture, rural areas will collapse, millions will stream to the cities and squat in the most dire poverty, starve to death and die of diseases like cholera. Exactly what happened in Zimbabwe, in other words. But Mngxitama, being a Marxist asshole, will no doubt be happy with the outcome. At least the starving hordes won't be exploited by white "racists", and that's what REALLY matters, is it not?

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