Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A positive and a negative
I was interested to read that Trevor Manuel has indicated that the budget for land restitution will be markedly cut next year. I was also interested to read that the government has settled 92% of all outstanding land claims.

This is both negative and positive at the same time. Negative in that it sends a bad signal to the masses, to whom land restitution is still a hot-button issue, and is likely to become even more so in the next few years. But it's incredibly positive that government has settled such an overwhelming proportion of land claims made, and much more should be made of this. It's not a small number of claims - nearly 73 000 in fact - and it is interesting that government has chosen not to make a huge deal about this. One wonders whether this is to allay further land claims in the short-term.

Either way, I would probably prefer it if Trevor hid this decrease in the notes of the budget, rather than leading with it, as it does raise significant questions for a large proportion of the country.