Land reform is necessary in South Africa- Report

Land reform is necessary in South Africa, but that is about the only issue regarding land reform on which there is consensus.

When we start unpacking why land reform is necessary, some people say it is because the majority of South Africans were disenfranchised and disempowered through years of colonial conquest, segregation and apartheid, while others will argue that it is to contribute to economic growth or to alleviate poverty and achieve greater income equality. Some even think it is to put agriculture on a more sustainable growth path.

Then the arguments start, because these objectives do not necessarily represent a positive sum game: we don’t all believe we can achieve one of these objectives without any detriment to the others. What is clear, though, is that the more recent proposals on Expropriation without Compensation are a red herring, largely because they ignore the importance of property rights and their contribution to a stable financial and economic system. 

Johann Kirsten is Professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Director of the Bureau for Economic Research (BER) at Stellenbosch
University. Before taking up this position he was Professor in Agricultural Economics and head of the Department of Agricultural Economics,
Extension and Rural Development at the University of Pretoria – a position he occupied for 20 years until his resignation on 31 July 2016.
He completed a BSc Agric degree and a BSc Agric (Hons) degree in Agricultural Economics at the University of Stellenbosch. He started his career as an agricultural economist in the Department of Agriculture in Pretoria and enrolled for postgraduate studies at the University of Pretoria.
He obtained a Master’s degree and PhD degree in Agricultural Economics at the University of Pretoria and joined the University of Pretoria as
lecturer in 1992. He served as a council member of the National Agricultural Marketing Council in South Africa from 2001 to 2011 and was
also appointed by the Minister of Agriculture as Chair of the Food Price Committee during 2003/4. He also served as the Vice-President of
the International Association of Agricultural Economists for the period 2006 – 2009. His main research interests are agricultural policy, land
reform and the economics of origin-based foods. In this respect, he was the mastermind behind the legislative process to get legal protection for Karoo Lamb and also to establish a certification mark for this well-known iconic South African food.

Wandile Sihlobo is an agricultural economist and head of research at the Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa (Agbiz). He is a member
of President Ramaphosa’s advisory panel on Land Reform and Agriculture. Sihlobo is a columnist for Business Day, Business Times and Farmers Weekly magazine. He is a member of the South African Agricultural Economics Association and also an author of the blog, Agricultural Economics Today. Sihlobo has previously served as an economist at Grain South Africa. He also served as part of the secretariat of the Agri-Sector Unity Forum (ASUF) Land Reform working group. Sihlobo holds a Master of Science degree in Agricultural Economics from
Stellenbosch University.

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