Thousands of members of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) will gather in Durban today for the launch of
Thousands of members of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) will gather in Durban today for the launch of the party’s election manifesto ahead of a general election due by August.
The manifesto will likely focus on land reform. The ANC intends to amend South Africa’s constitution via a parliamentary vote to allow the government to expropriate abandoned land without paying compensation. Expropriated land would then be redistributed to South Africa’s indigenous population to address racial inequality—despite accounting for only 9% of the population, white South Africans own some 72% of farming land.
Currently polling around the 60% mark, the ANC is expected to win this year’s election comfortably. Mr Ramaphosa will be hoping his platform of land reform—a highly popular policy—will arrest a trend that has seen his party’s majority slide in each of the last two elections.
But while politically popular, the economic implications of the ANC’s proposed land reform are less clear. On one hand, redistributing abandoned land should increase productivity and hopefully bring down South Africa’s unemployment rate, which currently hovers around 27%. On the other, the seizure of land without compensation defies basic property rights and could draw sanctions.
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