Mailbox: Southern Africa’s land – The way forward

Mario Rosingana is an accomplished businessman and former partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers where he audited a wide range of enterprises. With a rich history in farming, vineyards, in particular, Rosingana has worked to improve the communities in agriculture for decades. Rosingana has mapped out a plan to take stock of Southern African land and ensure that it serves all Southern Africans in a sustainable way. – Melani Nathan

Creating a better life for all living in Southern Africa

– Define the STATE as South Africa + Zimbabwe + Lesotho + Swaziland

By Mario Rosingana 

Why include Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Swaziland?

  • Because Kariba supplies water to South Africa.
  • Because Lesotho supplies water to South Africa.
  • Because Swaziland supplies crops bought by South Africa such as maize, potatoes, apples, oranges, sugar cane, tea, bananas, avocados, oranges, mangos, apples, grapes and pineapples.

Suggested land ownership objective.

  • All surface rights, mining rights and water rights must be owned by the State.
  • State to purchase every hectare of land not already owned at fair open market prices. No expropriations without fair compensation.
  • State should lease (not sell) surface rights, mining rights and water rights to entrepreneurs who need not be South Africans.

Set South Africa on to a new course:

  • The world’s most entrepreneurial friendly country.
  • The easiest country in the world in which to do business.
  • No to the redistribution of wealth.
  • Yes to rapidly growing the economy.

How to rapidly grow the economy?

  • Increase the supply of arable land.

How to increase the supply of arable land?

  • Build more dams.

Suggested starting point – Where are we now?

Survey the whole of Southern Africa over the next 36 months:

  • Who owns each and every hectare of land?
  • how is each and every hectare of land currently being utilised?

Such as supporting dwelling units, factories, mine dumps, railway lines, roads, airports, schools, technikons, universities including playing fields and swimming pools, harbours; such as the Cape Town and Randburg waterfronts, agricultural farms, dams, nature reserves such as the Kruger National Park, the Karoo, Robbyn Island etc.

  • What is today’s fair open market value of every hectare of land as currently utilised?

Thumbnail sketch of Mario Rosingana:

I was born in Johannesburg in 1938. Parktown Boys High School then on to evening lectures at Wits University.

I joined Coopers Brothers & Co. in Johannesburg in 1960. It later became Coopers & Lybrand and now is PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). I was admitted as a partner in 1971. I transferred to the Cape Town office in 1977 where I remained until I retired on 31 December 1998. My main focus was auditing large and medium entities in all fields such as manufacturers, retailers, civil engineering, mining companies, building contractors, property developers, insurers, healthcare services, vineyards and retirement villages.

Since 1999 I have been self-employed on a part-time basis doing the following: From 2000 to 2009 non-executive chairman of SBH Cotton Mills in Epping, Cape Town spinning yarn and weaving fabric. From 1999 to 2007 shareholder and non-executive director of Rand Trust Financiers, a company assisting profitable, growing SMEs to manage the risks of granting credit to their customers as well as taking on the entire administration and collection of their receivables and financing their working capital.

Through PwC I was an auditor and business adviser of Eikendal Vineyards from 1982 until I retired on 31 December 1998. In 2004 I was invited by owners, Ruedi and Hansjuerg Saager who reside in Zurich, to join them on the board. I am no longer a director but still see Ruedi and Hansjuerg who regularly come to Eikendal. (Hansjeurg died in 2019.)

From 1999 to date a non-executive director of a grape and fruit farm in Worcester. From 2000 to 2019 a non-executive director of the Milkwood Restaurant in Onrus
From 2000 to 2006 a trustee of employee share trusts in the Naspers Group. From 2000 to 2008 a non-executive director of the Cape Town Opera Company.

Non-executive director of the section 21 Velo Mondial Cape Town Conference 2006. Cape Town City won the bid to host the next global conference in 2006 (held every 6 years) organised to set goals for making the world’s cities more liveable by focusing on the bicycle which is the world’s cheapest, cleanest, healthiest and most efficient and affordable form of transport. Improved affordable mobility of our poor people will assist in alleviating poverty.

From 05 February 2009 to 27 January 2011 I was one of the six non-executive directors of Helderberg Village. Helderberg Village is on 85 hectares. The perimeter fence is 6 kilometres. There are 776 dwelling units with about 1 100 residents. It has an annual budget is of the order of R85m.

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