Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

According to your report, "Threat of instability if state does not expropriate land, says Ramaphosa" (August 20), President Cyril Ramaphosa believes SA risks becoming unstable if the state does not expropriate land without compensation.

We have polling to prove that this is nonsense. We also identify an apparent relationship between the real change in the after-tax income of households and popular perceptions of the future of the country. As those perceptions worsen, levels of violent protest action escalate.

So the reasons for declining levels of internal stability have little to do with land reform and a lot to do with the very weak performance of the economy over the past decade.

It is plain that the government is using the injustice of the historical denial of property rights to black South Africans to deflect popular anger that has arisen from the near stagnation of living standards and job creation, while seeking to use the emotions stirred up by the "land" issue to unite the fractured governing party. It is a reckless strategy on many levels, the most serious of which is that it hounds out investment needed to meet popular expectations and improve living standards.

What is necessary is to step back from the policy of expropriation without compensation, while providing proper finance and support to emerging commercial farmers. Without these two steps, SA will neither draw the investment to stage an economic recovery nor see the rise of a class of black commercial farmers.

Frans Cronje, CEO, Institute of Race Relations