Jessie Duarte on land reform: 'We cannot pretend all is well'

Jessie Duarte on land reform: 'We cannot pretend all is well'

- Jessie Duarte has come out in support of Zindzi Mandela regarding her land reform comments

- Duarte said she agreed that land expropriation without compensation was needed to address inequality

- Duarte added that this was an official ANC position and that it needed to be spoken about more often

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ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte issued a statement on Wednesday coming to the defence of Zindzi Mandela. 

"Let Zindzi Mandela be," Duarte wrote.

Duarte added that land expropriation without compensation was official ANC policy and that South Africans must "stop pretending and speak plainly about what must change".

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Duarte was referring to Mandela's controversial tweets about land reform, in which she referred to "white cowards" and "land thieves". AfriForum has since filed a hate speech complaint against Mandela with the South African Human Rights Commission.

Duarte also stressed her party's commitment to expropriation without compensation, writing that "changing the constitution to make this possible is the route best suited to achieve what must happen," according to Times Live.

In addition, Duarte addressed economic and spatial inequalities that have their roots in the apartheid and colonial eras. She said that land reform was necessary to address these issues. Duarte added that land expropriation would allow more people to "become employers who will create more jobs."

However, amending the Constitution to allow for this kind of expropriation without compensation is a controversial issue. For example, it has spooked investors and roiled markets.

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Additionally, many economists argue that property rights are essential to a well-functioning economy, and that amending the Constitution would weaken property rights and thus potentially undermine economic growth.

Ironically, in this scenario, land expropriation could lead to fewer jobs, despite Duarte claiming it is aimed, at least in part, at boosting employment.

Finally, in the places where it has been implemented, land expropriation has a dismal track record. For instance, the mass expropriation of farm land in Zimbabwe has been identified as a significant reason for that country's economic collapse and runaway inflation in the mid 2000's.

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