Don’t stop at banning foreign land ownership

OUR government will ban foreign ownership of land, according to President Jacob Zuma’s state of the nation address. A real puzzle is why they have waited so long. And why will the policy not apply to everything governed by the same principle — that increased foreign demand inflates local prices at our expense?

Take our mines, for instance. If foreigners are allowed to own mines, competition for our minerals increases the price at which we can mine them. It makes no sense that we nationalised mineral rights, and then hand them back to foreign mining houses, especially our companies that emigrated with ill-gotten loot to foreign stock exchanges. The government should ban foreign buying of shares on our stock exchange. As with our land, foreign buyers inflate the price we must pay for our own shares. Without neo-colonial investors our shares would be cheaper and, broadly speaking, broaden broad-based empowerment.

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