Editor's Note: Johnbosco Nwogbo is studying toward a PhD in Philosophy at the University of Sussex, England. He is interested in ideas that would improve the material lives of impoverished peoples, which is why he is drawn to the idea of the Universal Basic Income.
In this article, Nwogbo discusses the issue of land restitution and asks whether the ANC can be trusted to deliver on their promises.
Land "expropriation without compensation" is by no means the first real test of who South African politics works for; it's the second real test. The first test has produced a result decisively in the favour of the minority with economic power. The ANC's complete capitulation to neoliberal economic dogma; their willingness to sacrifice black South Africans who are economically deprived on the altar of credit ratings, and; their penchant for using every given opportunity to pursue self-serving, self-enriching ends, rather than seek broad-based justice, are only a few instantiations of their failure on the first test.
Let us try to score their performance in this first test, 24 years after the end of apartheid? While some progress has no doubt been made in improving the lives of blacks in South Africa, the question of who has come out on top of the post-apartheid economy is unmistakable. For example, the wealth-gap between whites and blacks has not budged a notch. Data from the Research Project on Employment, Income Distribution and Inclusive Growth at the University of Cape Town, shows that 10% of South Africans own over 90% of all assets. But the story has not been too different on incomes either, with the top 10% of South Africa's income earners (typically whites), earning almost 60% of all incomes. According to STATS SA, the average white family make five times the average black family.
What is more, according to a recent study, only about 23% of the stocks traded on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange belong, directly or indirectly, to black people, who make up more than 80% of South Africa's population. In 1994, 80% of arable land (or farmland) in South Africa was held by whites, who make up only 8% of the population. By some estimates, no more than 10% of that land has been transferred to black South Africans since 1994.
Read the rest of Nwogbo's article on The Journalist's website.
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