Jobs, not land, needed to ad­dress poverty

The Star Early Edition - - LETTERS -

LAND in our coun­try is a highly emo­tional is­sue cur­rently be­ing ex­ploited by var­i­ous politi­cians for their own nar­row po­lit­i­cal ends with scant re­gard for the real, ma­jor prob­lem.

Poverty is far and away the ma­jor prob­lem and this is di­rectly linked to the high un­em­ploy­ment rate, which means some 9.3 mil­lion peo­ple are with­out jobs.

Politi­cians, in­clud­ing those of the ANC and EFF, would have us be­lieve that seiz­ing and dis­tribut­ing the land would some­how mirac­u­lously solve the poverty prob­lem.

There is, in­deed, a des­per­ate need for hous­ing land, es­pe­cially in the ur­ban ar­eas. There is also a need to have a more bal­anced de­mo­graphic dis­tri­bu­tion of land.

How­ever, when it comes to poverty re­lief, the fig­ures just do not stack up.

The to­tal land area of South Africa, which by world stan­dards is a dry coun­try, is 121.9 mil­lion hectares. If we di­vided this up among the ap­prox­i­mately 50 mil­lion peo­ple (ex­clud­ing white peo­ple), then each per­son would re­ceive 2.4ha of land. The av­er­age, long-term grazing ca­pac­ity of our coun­try is about 15ha per large live­stock unit (ie cow).

Thus some six in­di­vid­u­als would have to pool their land to keep one cow.

If we only dis­trib­uted the high po­ten­tial land (some 15 mil­lion hectares with a grazing ca­pac­ity of 5ha a cow) then each per­son would get 0.3ha and 16 peo­ple would have to pool re­sources to keep one cow.

The mes­sage is clear – dis­tri­bu­tion of the land to all would mean con­tin­ued poverty for all.

The so­lu­tion to the poverty prob­lem in our coun­try is jobs, jobs and more jobs – some­thing ANC poli­cies have man­i­festly failed to de­liver. Pat McGee Fair­land, Joburg

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