Land reform is a deeply emotional issue in SA, but it is not as intractable a problem as many others — such as crime, unemployment and poor education. But in recent days, it seems the issue is spinning out of control, as the country has witnessed a number of disturbing land invasions. In the southern Cape town of Hermanus, an attempted land grab was quashed with 25 people arrested over the weekend. There were similar thwarted invasions in the Eastern Cape and Gauteng. Political opportunists, like Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters, say this trend shows the need for government to fast-track expropriation without compensation. So let’s look at land ownership. Of the 122mha of land in SA, 94mha is private land, and 28mha is state-owned land. These land grabs, however, have been taking place in urban areas, where the majority of citizens are jostling for a small slice of the 3.2mha in these regions — which amounts to just 2.6% of SA’s land mass. Research by the Institute of Race ...

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