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South African President Wants To Be More Like Zimbabwe

Jacob Zuma promising accelerated "land reform."

Back in 2000, a poll conducted by the South African Helen Suzman Foundation found that only 9 percent of Zimbabweans thought that "land reform," which is to say expropriation of mostly white-owned commercial land and its redistribution among black Zimbabweans, was the most important issue in the forthcoming election. That low number ought not to have surprised anyone who spoke to ordinary Zimbabweans. A tiny portion of blacks saw their future as subsistence farmers on tiny plots of ancestral land. They saw themselves as manufacturers, accountants, lawyers, doctors—just like everyone else.

Robert Mugabe, the 92-year-old Marxist who has been in charge of Zimbabwe since 1980 and who was recently nominated for yet another stint in the highest office, saw things differently. The election, which he thought he might lose, would be fought on the issue of land distribution. Conveniently forgetting that most of the farm land changed hands under his presidency and was, thus, legitimately owned under the laws that he promulgated, Mugabe stoked anti-white resentment. Along with the usual electoral shenanigans, such as voter intimidation and out-of-date voter rolls, land reform helped to return him to office.

Over the next few years, almost all of the country's 4,000 white-owned farms were invaded by state-organized gangs. Some of the farmers who resisted the land seizures were murdered, while others fled abroad. Mugabe claimed that the land would be given to the landless masses. In fact, much of the best land was given to his cronies. The new owners showed little aptitude for farming, however. The agricultural sector soon collapsed, and with it most of Zimbabwe's tax revenue and foreign currency reserves.

Those parts of the economy that processed the agricultural produce soon followed, as did the banking sector, which relied on farms as collateral for future lending. To meet its obligations to domestic and foreign creditors, the government ordered the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to print more money, sparking the first hyperinflation of the 21st century. At the end of 2008, when the Zimbabwean dollar was finally scrapped in favor of the U.S. dollar, hyperinflation ran at an annualized rate of 80 sextillion percent.

Why bring up this piece of history?

South of the border, in the economic powerhouse of Africa, an unpopular government in trouble with the electorate, is contemplating its own Zimbabwe-style land reform. South Africa's President, Jacob Zuma, has recently promised to speed up land reform. According to Zuma, "the challenges of poverty, inequality, and unemployment have their roots in the vast tracts of land that was stolen from the indigenous people of South Africa". Land reform should, therefore, be "radically accelerated".

Considering that the minister of rural development and land reform, Gugile Nkwinti, has already acknowledged "that much land had already been transferred [from largely white commercial owners to inexperienced black small-holders] in most cases of transfer a productive farm which was a going concern had collapsed," South Africa ought to tread very carefully. Following the land reform in Zimbabwe, land productivity started to lag heavily behind that of South Africa. If South African agriculture collapses, other economic problems will be sure to follow.

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  • UnCivilServant||

    Ah yes, the power to turn a net food exporter known as the Breadbasket of Southern Africa into a famine-stricken food importer...

  • kbolino||

    Who cares if people have food? There's social justice to be done!

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    This sums it up well. I upvote this for threadwinner.

  • CatoTheChipper||

    Seconded

  • Res ipsa loquitur||

    Is thirdeded a word ?

  • Animal||

    Fourthded!

  • Princess Trigger||

    Third World Problems

  • SQRLSY One||

    It could NEVER happen here!!!!

  • Unemployed Armenian Tranny||

    I thought that was Islam?

  • DarrenM||

    Adherents of Islam went from a few tribes in the middle of the desert to almost a quarter of the world's population. It may be having problems now, but it is certainly not a "bad idea".

  • MonsoonMoon||

    You are referencing "Islam Lite," the neutered version of what Islam is. So it being almost a quarter of the world's population is irrelevant.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Is there anything Socialism can't do? /sarc

  • BambiB||

    There is no problem that government cannot make worse.

  • kbolino||

    hectograms per hectare

    You will not be able to convince me that this isn't poorly written technobabble from Star Trek.

  • UnCivilServant||

    Gosh darnit to hect, we thought we'd gotten one past you.

  • Jerryskids||

    If you're using normal measures, a hectogram per hectare is ~3.7 hogsheads per rod or 11.2 pecks per furlong.

  • Libertarian||

    Great, now I'm hungry. I absolutely love furlong hotdogs.

  • Gadfly||

    Technically you are wrong, as hectare is a unit of area while rod and furlong are units of length. To be correct you should have used perch or rood.

  • SQRLSY One||

    And why not nano-snoods per cubic light-seconds? I can NOT see why that shouldn't work just as well!

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    I looked up hectogram just to be sure it was what I thought it was -- tenth of a kilogram. Obviously chosen to be compatible with hectare sound-wise, which I also looked up, and was surprised to find it is a hundred "ares", which I had never heard of -- I had always assumed a hectare was so named because it is 100 meters on a side. So an "are" (how is that even pronounced?) is 10 meters on a side, natural and intuitive choice. The superiority of the metric system is confirmed again!

  • Gadfly||

    Silly scarecrow, an "ares" is a god of war, which is a ridiculous unit of measurement for area. Inferiority of the metric system confirmed! :-p

  • LibertarianJRT||

    I hate the metric system and all the progtards who smugly tout it as superior. It is a system of measure based on units of ten because the people who thought of it used base 10 numbers. Had they used base twelve numbers like the merchants on whose work the imperial system was based we would have not to have given up many basic concepts of measure. Metric is only "better" because the mouth breathers count fingers and not finger segments. Look at your hand and use the thumb to count the finger segments on the other 4 digits... You get 12. Base 10 is so impractical. Base 12 is so much better. With base ten you have repeating digits for 1/3 =.33333. With base twelve, 1/3 =.4. This is such an improvement for standard divisions of product. I could go on, but no one cares.

  • marshaul||

    AvE has conclusively proved the superiority of the Standard system. Metrophiles will have to suck up being wrong on this one.

  • gaoxiaen||

    How many Zimbabweans ever thought that they would end up as trillionaires?

  • UnCivilServant||

    I am a multitrillionaire. I have $110 Trillion Zimbabwe.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    That's nothing, I bought 100 Real while in Brazil, which makes me a Brazillionaire.

  • SimonD||

    It's Krugman's Utopia.

    ...a trillion-dollar coin in every pot.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    +1 000 000 000 000

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    If you would just send them your bank account number so they can get their $10,000,000 from their cousin the King's frozen account, they would be well on their way. Help a brother out!

  • Jerryskids||

    South Africa ought to tread very carefully. Following the land reform in Zimbabwe, land productivity started to lag heavily behind that of South Africa. If South African agriculture collapses, other economic problems will be sure to follow.

    Economic education ain't got shit on demonizing "them" for all your problems when it comes to politics. Capitalism is all about delayed gratification, saving and investing, forgoing current consumption for future, and cargo cult culture doesn't see any of that. All they do see is, if you got the power you can steal all the good stuff and therefore anybody who's got good stuff must have stolen it. They're just taking back what was stolen from them.

    Just like the Venezuelans took back all the oil them evil private oil companies were stealing, didn't they? And aren't the Sanderesses of this country generally in favor of nationalizing a lot of resource-based industries on the premise that if you're extracting wealth from Mother Earth, you're stealing our stuff. Ours, as in it belongs to all of us. Just because you're Little Red Henning it and putting all the work into planting and harvesting the wheat and milling it into flour and baking it into bread doesn't mean we don't get most of the loaf - there's more of us who need bread than you greedy bastards producing more than you need for current consumption.

  • Jerryskids||

    That's the saddest thing - they're not just not encouraging capitalism, they're actively discouraging capitalism. Capitalism is all about producing more than you need of something so that you can trade it to somebody who doesn't have enough of that something. Who the hell would produce more than they can immediately consume if having more than you can immediately consume is grounds for having your stuff stolen from you? Subsistence farming makes perfect sense under that scenario. Only produce what you can immediately consume before the pillagers show up. The poor bastards who don't have enough and would be willing to trade for your theoretical excess production are fucked.

  • DarrenM||

    It's not just in Africa, either. What you say sounds depressingly like what many here in the U.S. seem to believe.

  • straffinrun||

    That first chart reminds me of what happens when the bitch has her legs spread that far apart.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Somebody gets screwed?

  • straffinrun||

    And hard.

  • A Cynic's Guide to Zen||

    Followed by: Little Red Book crop centralization methodology.

  • gaoxiaen||

    And breast implants.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Christ, what an asshole. And here i thought Zuma was cool, what with having a campaign theme song called "Bring Me My Machine Gun."

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    You should have known. There's a stereotype of Right-Wingers/Libertarians/Non-Socialists, however you want to define the cut, as violent gun-nuts.

    But the people I know who talk about actually killing large groups of people to further their goals are all socialists.

  • Cloudbuster||

    "Bring Me My Machine Gun" so I can kill white people.

  • MonsoonMoon||

    And wouldn't you know it, that song has been #1 on South Africa's charts since inauguration day.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    "Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

    This is known as "bad luck." - R.A. Heinlein

  • LynchPin1477||

    80 sextillion percent.

    In other words, so large as to make the money completely useless. At some point inflation becomes so high that it doesn't even make sense to quantify it, because the currency is no longer an actual currency.

  • LynchPin1477||

    A few thoughts

    1) I honestly thought the GDP of Zimbabwe was higher, and closer to South Africa's, before Mugabe obliterated the economy. Hopefully South Africa will be able to weather any destructive economic policies long enough to overturn them, and without suffering any catastrophic long term damage.

    2) The international community is making heavy investments in South Africa, and it does concern me for exactly this reason. South Africa has done well by the standards of the region, but I worry that it will take the path of Zimbabwe or Venezuela. In addition to making life terrible for South Africans (I know a few and they are lovely people), it could have disastrous consequences for those sectors that the international community is investing in. I really hope things don't take a hard left.

  • Free Society||

    South Africa is "doing well", insofar as you could claim they are doing well, on borrowed time. They've been consuming capital since the end of apartheid. People often fail to look past the glowing halo of Saint Nelson Mendela, patron saint of murderers of white children, to see the absolute stupidity and intractable corruption that is the ANC.

    That said, they aren't doing well. They're agricultural output is plummeting, owing in part to the murderous genocide of white land owners in the countryside. Last I checked, they lead the world in a number of violent crime categories, including basically every sub-category of rape. They're history's greatest baby rapists, for example. And South Africa is one place that hasn't experienced the precipitous drop in violent crime that most of the rest of humanity has experienced over the last one hundred years, in fact violent crime has gotten worse since the end of apartheid. They've only recently gotten back down to 1970's levels of violence, but it's on the uptick again as the communist Bantu retards running the show eat through the last of their capital stock.

  • Homple||

    Racist.

  • CatoTheChipper||

    Socialism works fairly well until you run out of other people's money.

    The relatively peaceful end of apartheid was a major accomplishment of Mandela; however, ANC collectivism accompanied it. Unlike the rest of Africa, South Africa managed to accumulate significant capital the centuries before it became socialist. So it has taken a while for things to come completely unraveled.

  • DarrenM||

    So, your saying we can expect "refugees" from S.A. sometime?

  • Rational Exuberance||

    The Arab slave traders are currently busy raping and pillaging Europe again, so... no.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I believe he was the Mayor of Johannesburg. Which, as the biggest city, hopefully means he has some power to oppose the President. I hope even more, that it doesn't lead to him getting his head put on a pike.

  • Animal||

    I was in Jo'burg in 2010. It was an absolute shithole. I suspect it hasn't improved since then.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    You know who else wanted 'land-reform'?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    The guy trying to sell me landscaping services?

  • Vaelyn||

    Lex Luthor?

  • Raston Bot||

    +Otisburg

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    John Locke?

  • {|}===[|}:;:;:;:;:;:;:>||

    The Franks and the Goths?

  • Unemployed Armenian Tranny||

    The God of Genesis?

  • MonsoonMoon||

    You leave bands out of this.

  • Seguin, the Mighty Monoclops||

    Gaius Gracchus?

  • Dan S.||

    It's an old story, and you would think it's too well known for South Africa to even think of following in Zimbabwe's footsteps. But those graphs kind of surprise me, since they don't seem to show the kind of precipitous drop in Zimbabwe's productivity that I was expecting. The cereal yields and GDP per person graphs for Zimbabwe both seem to be at roughly the same levels at the end as at the beginning, while the values for South Africa increased significantly. And "hectograms" per hectare? Is this a unit anyone really uses? Wouldn't it make more sense to say kilograms, and reduce the labels on the vertical axis by a factor of 10?

  • Gadfly||

    The scale necessary to include South Africa is throwing you off. If you look at it again, you'll see a precipitous drop from 2000 (when the article mentions the land reallocation started) to 2008 (when the article says the Zimbabwean currency was abandoned). Crop yields went from ~15k to ~5k (a 66% drop!) and per capita GDP went from ~3k to ~1.5k. That's massive economic devastation.

  • Free Society||

    South Africa and Zimbabwe are the two places that make people talking about "white genocide" seem like they're not so crazy. Both of those governments and societies are doing to their white minority what would be called genocide if it happened to any other group.

  • DiegoF||

    People should not overlook or soft-pedal the revolting racism of ZANU-PF or even the ANC; this is one of those cases where anyone who does not has completely unmasked themselves as a devotee of something completely foreign to liberalism and humanism.
    .
    At the same time, we should remember that today's racism is indeed not simply the inverse of the evils of the National Party and Rhodesian Front. Those parties' rule actually did benefit White Africans--and pretty much all of them. Today's black racist parties do indeed target whites, but they benefit only a tiny elite of black cronies at the expense not only of targeted whites but the vast majority of blacks. (And let's not even talk about the other races.)
    .
    Additionally, there are--in great numbers in SA, but present even in Zimbabwe--a number of well-connected big-city whites who do quite well for themselves! (Again, also members of other races.) These are most often people who were part of the well-connected elite as well under the ancien regime, and who were nimble and skilled enough to make the transition with the times. You don't hear this so often on the news--that, in addition to sending his black buddies to the countryside to beat and murder innocent white farmers because of the color of their skin, Mugabe has also been stealing from poor blacks to line the pockets of his rich white buddies. But it's what happens. Seriously, these people are like fucking cartoon supervillains. Pure evil.

  • DarrenM||

    Wait! The ANC is made up of Blacks, right? Everyone knows Blacks can't be racist.

  • Edwin||

    Does anybody remember the movie District 9? It was that movie with the story set in South Africa with large shrimp-like aliens stuck in slum-camps. That movie is the big Hollywood version of a smaller short that the director Neil Blomkamp did. In the short, he interviews people about the aliens and shows them complaining about the aliens, and shows an obvious CGI spaceship. At the end of the movie, Blomkamp reveals that he was actually asking the people about the Zimbabwean refugees.

    Obviously the lesson is not to be "discriminatory" or whatever, but he actually kind of proves all the anti-immigration arguments. The people are complaining about basic things, those refugees don't speak our language, they steal, etc. These are legitimate concerns. Crazy thought, maybe REFUGEES who are COMPLETELY DESPERATE will increase crime. Since they're so damned desperate, low wages to the natives will seem huge to them, and they will take jobs at lower wages, decreasing the prevailing wage in the new country.

    I mean, it's not like the American anti-immigration stance is only applied to America. As someone who is mostly against immigration, I apply the same logic to all countries. Basic economics holds that more people will lower the wage, raise prices or both, BUT NEVER NEITHER. The whole world would be a lot more stable if every country were surrounded by land-mine border-line sections / areas / whatever (that last bit also extends into the issue of preventing war obviously).

  • Edwin||

    I mean even underpopulated countries whom you could argue need immigrants, it would be better being CONTROLLED immigration, not insane undocumented clusterfuck masses of people coming over.

    What is it people don't get about this?

  • Edwin||

    So, obivously the way Zimbabwe already has and South Africa is currently planning on doing this is hugely disastrous, but the land-imbalance is indeed a big problem down there and (comparatively) a source of a lot of the poverty.

    One of the reasons Americans as a people are so wealthy on the individual level is the land give-outs given during the 1800s and before. It's a surefire way to allow for wide scale individual wealth very-long-term. Most countries started with a small royal class that owned all the land, and never really got much better than that. This is why even in Europe you still find a lot more of a lack of widespread individual wealth. The American idea ended up being genius.

    In South Africa, the colonists took all the land from the native blacks, so all the money from agricultural production goes solely to whites. In a large, under-developed country this is a significant proprtion of the money.

  • Edwin||

    This is not to say that Zimbabwes already-move and South Africa's planned move aren't terrible ideas. Most simplistic land grabs are. I mean it's like "Hey, lets take all the land from the people who have been farming there and give it to people WHO HAVE NEVER FARMED BEFORE EVER" I mean Jesus, that's stupid. I mean you would at least think they would give it to people who know how to farm it, but it never works out like that. And giving it to cronies is giving it to people WHO HAVE NO INTENTION OF FARMING. What genius thought of that? I mean you would think AT LEAST that you would KEEP THE FARMERS and have them just pay rent, but for some reason the geniuses always KICK THE FARMER OFF.

    So where was I going with this? I dunno, just saying that the colonial racial imbalance thing is indeed a real thing. I mean it goes beyond what happened in America where blacks just have a residual lack of wealth from when they weren't allowed to fully join the economy for a long time but now have ewual opportunity. That colonial racial imbalance with the land is more permanent, because it's a restriction of a lot of the wealth generating capital of the country in the first place.

    Not making any normative statements, just saying the imbalance and unfairness is real

  • Cloudbuster||

    #WhiteGenocide

  • ColoradoKook||

    I'm not well-versed enough in this stuff other than to say that Marian's graphs are growing on me.

  • marshaul||

    I, too, like the default Excel graphing options. :p

  • ColoradoKook||

    I'm not well-versed enough in this stuff other than to say that Marian's graphs are growing on me.

  • ColoradoKook||

    The squirrels...not so much.

  • Empress Trudy||

    If Zuma is serious I hope he intends to replace agriculture as a sector of SA's economy. He likely will destroy it but then again, the ANC is the modern day manifestation of the CPSU so he might not care either way.

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    Well, the average South African is too fat anyway. Nothing like a little government sponsored famine and starvation to cure that.

  • Grant||

    More like Zimbabwe? For a minute there I though you said "a zombie."

  • DarrenM||

    Either works.

  • DarrenM||

    Either works.

  • Old Monkey||

    If smart South Africa's Black Majority will be more welcoming to its White, and Asain minorities. They are the most educated, and are the glue binding the South Africaneconomy. They will be welcomed should they decide to leave.

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