The Helen Suzman Foundation has noted the announcement by the President that the ANC will seek to amend Section 25 of the Constitution.
We believe that it would have been more appropriate to wait until the parliamentary committee submits its report. We re-affirm our view that it is not necessary to amend Section 25 in order to promote improved distribution and utilization of land. Our submission to the parliamentary committee – click here – sets out the reasons for our view.
Afriforum – 1 August 2018
The civil rights organisation AfriForum today started to widely distribute a video message to international investors, grading agencies and governments. In the video, AfriForum appeals to investors to put pressure on the South African government and President Cyril Ramaphosa to give up their plans of expropriating property without compensation. The video message was produced this morning in reaction to the announcement last night of the governing ANC’s decision to amend the Constitution to allow for expropriation without compensation. Ramaphosa’s announcement came only a day after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had warned that the ongoing debate on expropriation without compensation could deter foreign investors.
Kallie Kriel, CEO of AfriForum, points out in the video message that South Africa desperately needs international investors and that Ramaphosa should be warned timeously by these investors to prevent this violation of property rights. “History teaches us that international investors, regardless of what AfriForum or anyone else says, are unwilling to invest in a country where property rights are not protected. For this reason, international pressure is needed now to prevent investors from being deterred.”
Kriel also points out in the video that the violation of property rights had catastrophic results in countries like Venezuela and Zimbabwe. He also argues that Zimbabwe’s current unemployment rate of 90% is proof that expropriation without compensation negatively affects not only land owners, but everyone. “To help prevent an economic catastrophe, international investors are therefore requested to intervene on behalf of millions of South Africans,” Kriel adds.
According to Kriel, the fact that Ramaphosa made the announcement to amend the Constitution even before the public participation process has been finalised is an indication that the current participation process is nothing but a farce. “To have made the decision before the participation process has been finalised provides AfriForum with a very strong cause to have the public participation process declared invalid by the courts,” Kriel says.
ANC PRESIDENT RAMAPHOSA’S LATE NIGHT ANNOUNCEMENT –
IS THIS THE RIGHT WAY TO GO ABOUT SOMETHING SO IMPORTANT?
1 August 2018
The FW de Klerk Foundation noted with grave concern the statement on expropriation without compensation (EWC), by ANC president Ramaphosa after the NEC Lekgotla last night. There are two main problems with the statement, procedurally and substantively.
Speaking as leader of a political party, he abused the platform of the national broadcaster to make a party-political announcement, as if it were an announcement as President of the country. This shows the same dangerous conflation of party and State as we have seen during the Zuma years. The statement also pre-empts the outcome and makes a mockery of the parliamentary process that is underway, as if the ANC is the only party in Parliament. The incidental reference to the “parliamentary process” does not hide the apparent disdain the majority party has for the Legislature and its processes. In addition, the announcement short-circuited the public hearings, thus rendering public participation in the legislative process obsolete. This means that any future amendments are open to a legal challenge on grounds of lack of procedural fairness.
On the substantive side, although the statement (and the NEC Lekgotla) affirms the ANC’s previous views on EWC, it deviates in important aspects. Instead of the qualifiers at Nasrec (agricultural production, food security, future investment in the economy and not harming other sectors of the economy), it puts the goals of EWC as redress, advancing economic development, increased agricultural production and food security. This takes the test of the economic viability of EWC out of the economic and business sphere and puts it in the sphere of political rhetoric. Nowhere in history has the dilution of property rights led to economic development, an increase in agricultural production and food security. This rhetorical pipe-dream has only led to spectacular failures, in countries such as Zimbabwe and Venezuela. This will be the last blow to international investment and much-needed job creation.
The Foundation will keep on working to protect the national accord reached in 1994. It will continue to uphold the Constitution and its universal principles – one of which is the sanctity of property rights. We will also keep pointing out that government can – and should – address land reform issues in accordance with section 25. As the High Level Panel Report has pointed out, it is not necessary to amend section 25 to achieve this important constitutional goal.