"Many years ago these lands were expropriated by people carrying guns without any compensation. And yet, when people talk of corrective expropriation now, we say no no no like Amy Winehouse to the suggestion of attending rehab"
A lot has been happening lately including the loss of one Amy Winehouse; a lovely talent gone too soon. I guess her job here was done and her maker was calling her home.
Then there has been a lot of talk surrounding a certain politician who apparently should be earning something in the region of R20,000 but allegedly has managed to begin construction of a multi-million dollar house. You have all heard about these trust funds being used to conceal wealth. Before we begin to cast the first stone, let's be honest. How many fine citizens of good standing have set up trusts to dodge the tax man or whip up some other cunning scheme?
Still on the proverbial first stone, I have been very fortunate to be residing in the tranquil suburb of Bishops Court in the Western Cape for the last few weeks. There hasn't been a day when I haven't been gob smacked by the vastness of the enclosed areas around some of these houses. Insane I tell you. I wondered how many informal settlements can fit into one of these plots because that's how big these places are.
That got me thinking. A good few years ago, these beautiful lands at the base of Table Mountain and those lucrative ocean facing lands on the Atlantic Seaboard had some thriving communities. Then one day someone, in their infinite wisdom decided to pull up with a truck and a gun and tell all these communities to vamoose to outlying areas. And that was that. No compensation, no alternatives provided, just see you later! Yet there is talk of expropriation of lands with no compensation and we all lift up our hands and wave them wildly chanting no no no as if reciting the recently deceased Amy Winehouse's response to a suggestion of attending rehab.
There is a complexity in solving the issue that is South Africa, make no bones about it. Our checkered past has been built on forcible removals at no compensation because it served the purposes of a few. Time has passed and we have realized that these 'ill gotten' gains and the ramifications on the vast majority of the population were unjust. And yet we are hesitant to entertain corrective measures. There has been years of talk of compensation for certain lands in dispute but very little agreement seems to have been reached on a number of these lands.
What is next? I pray not a Zim style expropriation because that my dear friends does no one any good. So my suggestion is that before we point fingers and wax lyrical in racial and unconstructive ways, best we start engaging each other. We should do this with the sole aim of finding an amicable solution. We should speak to each other not at or past each other. Because these rules were created many years ago and we best all learn to play with them or find new rules that will work for us all.
Peprah is a self employed entrepreneur pursuing interests in business advisory, consultancy and commodity brokering. www.mondaymail.blogspot.com