South Africa: Former Lipton Tea Plantation Collapses under Inept Black Management

More than 2,000 workers have lost their jobs in the latest South African “land reform” project—which seizes white farms and hands them over to Africans—as one of the country’s largest tea plantations, formerly run by Lipton Teas international, has totally collapsed into weeds after less than ten years in black hands.

Democratic Alliance provincial leader Jacques Smalle accompanied by the party’s Shadow Minister of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries Annette Steyn, photographed while visiting the ruined tea estate.

The collapse of the Makgoba Tea Estate (previously known as Sapekoe Tea Estate) near the northern town of Tzaneen contrasts strongly with the plantation’s heyday under white management, when it employed over 6,400 people and was one of the country’s largest suppliers of tea to both local and export markets.

The plantation was operated by international tea maker Lipton since the 1960s, but in 2006, the estate was however taken over by the ANC government in 2006 as part of the “land restitution program” and saw over 600 African families being moved on to the farm to run it.

The ANC also injected over 65 million Rand in “investment” and “loans” to the Africans who all claimed to be “farmers” and “original residents.”

A visit this past week to the estate by a local newspaper, the Bosveld Review, found however that all the fixtures had been stolen, the buildings stripped and desolate, and the formerly pristine rows of tea trees left to be overrun with wild weeds and bush.

According to the newspaper, the surviving tea bushes had been left to grow up to 10 feet high; “the agricultural infrastructure had been stripped and removed from the property and opportunities to create employment looked bleak as planned projects had come to little.”

A forensic report marked ‘for internal use only’ confirmed that the estate was stripped of assets in excess of R121 million and subsequently, in 2011 the department became the caretaker of the estate, the paper quoted local opposition politician Jacques Smalle from the “Democratic Alliance” party.

Smalle said the department appointed the Greater Tzaneen Economic Development Agency to develop a business plan and pumped R65 742 000 into the dilapidated estate between 2011 and 2015.

“It is now clear that no farming activity has taken place for years.

“Deteriorating tractors, pickups and graders belonging to the Limpopo Economic Development Agency (Leda) were found on site. It then begs the question what the R65 million was spent on, as it is evident that [the Limpopo Economic Development Agency] Leda has done nothing to revitalize this project,” said Smalle.

This is not the first such “land restitution” program to have collapsed under the ANC’s rule. As pointed out in the book “The Great South African Land Scandal,” African rule has been disastrous for agriculture in South Africa: in 2007, thirteen years after adopting black rule, South Africa became a net food importer for the first time since its founding in 1652.

Recommended For You


  1. This is what inevitably happens when government takes property (steals) from those who own it, and gives it away to people who don't own it, haven't earned or paid for it, have no money to manage it, and have no idea how to managing it or anything.

    Having been employed on a farm doesn't qualify you for management of that or any farm. Management is far more difficult than simple employment. Taking land and businesses from its owners and managers and giving it to the ignorant employees, simply because they were once employed there, guarantees collapse of that industry. It's one of the most stupid things a government can do. "Land reform" Is just a moniker for massive government theft writ large, which _always_ leads to job losses, collapse of industry, poverty, and destitution. "Land reform" has _never_ benefited any society or economy, but just the opposite.

    When will people learn that socialism always results in this sort of tragedy? Always. Socialism kills. Socialism is NOT an economic system. Socialism cannot manage economics, it can only disrupt it. When you disrupt successfully functioning economic systems, this is the inevitable result – Job losses, collapse of industry, poverty, and destitution; Everybody looses!

  2. Typical, just another way to launder money and get rid of whites who CAN do the job. These blacks elevate themselves grandly, but have not got what it takes to farm, laziness, incompetence, uneducated, greed and racism are their main downfall

  3. Tragic, and how many more times is it going to happen before we can get it stopped? Rather than just handing over land willy nilly, employees could own shares in the successful farming projects and share in the profits.

  4. So what went before the new SA was a 'successfully functioning economic system?' Hmm. Heaven save us from such low bar setters. BTW – that system that lifted Europe and Japan out the post-war abyss was largely termed 'socialist.' Apartheid South Africa had a selective socialist program called apartheid. It lifted an impoverished group out of the mess of the boer war to practice the free market nightmare most South Africans still live in. All those free school books and pencils and free treatment in state hospitals back in the day? We paid for those services in tax, not through expensive insurance providers that the less economically advantaged majority cannot afford. You want good farmers. Teach them for free like in many of the most advanced education systems driving many social democracies in the north.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.