Anthony Butler’s column, Expropriation: Ramaphosa wrong to focus on rural land (January 12) is absolutely correct.
Cyril Ramaphosa’s focus on land expropriation for growing food, creating jobs and growing the economy is a good idea.
The deputy president is correct that expropriation could "make this country the Garden of Eden". Many former white farmers exited farming because they can no longer compete. Yet they kept the land and its water rights based on the misguided belief that one day a black knight in shining armour (possibly from the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform) will come to their rescue and buy the land at an inflated price, so that they may retire wealthy.
This is the land that the government should expropriate without compensation, if there are future black farmers lining up to farm the land for profit. Because someone is spreading the snake oil that black people don’t want to farm and can’t farm, does not make it so.
Like their white counterparts, black people know that there are many variables to consider in farming: climate, access to good quality inputs, capital, water and off-takers. Faced with such uncertainties, many people choose money over land. But some would return and farm the land if there was willingness and political will to develop successful black farmers to farm for profit.
Butler is correct, "rural land matters". It matters more than urban land does — unless SA is in the business of building malls to sell Louis Vuitton to the elite, instead of growing food for our nation.