FW De Klerk Foundation fears anarchy if land expropriation plans are accepted
The FW de Klerk Foundation fears that amending the Constitution to allow expropriation without compensation "would have extremely negative political implications for the country, including causing political instability and even anarchy".
The foundation released a statement to announce that it too has made a submission to Parliament's Constitutional Review Committee.
Like many of those opposed to the move, the foundation mentioned former president Kgalema Motlanthe's high-level panel that reviewed South Africa's legislation.
"According to the High Level Panel Report, the failure of land reform thus far may instead be ascribed primarily to the incapacity of the relevant government departments, and to corruption," reads the statement.
The foundation says the present formulation of Section 25 of the Constitution, which deals with property, and a proper legislative framework can and should be used to speed up the land reform process and extend property rights to all.
"Section 25 has not been properly utilised to do that, as the High Level Panel Report states," says the foundation.
"Importantly, we further believe that an amendment of section 25 to allow [expropriation without compensation] would have extremely negative political implications for the country, including political instability and even anarchy. It would all but destroy the national accord reached in 1994 and 1996."
It further states that a Constitutional amendment will harm agricultural production and food security and negatively impact other sectors of the economy – "contrary to what the parliamentary motion and the ANC’s resolution at [the national elective conference in] Nasrec expressly intended".
The foundation also has several technical, legal problems with amending Section 25.
"The foundation's strong views in this regard do not mean that we support the status quo on property rights and land reform," it says.
In its submission, the foundation made several recommendations on how to extend property rights to all South Africans and effect meaningful land reform.
Meanwhile, the Institute of Race Relations (IRR), which also opposes the amendment of the Constitution, will also be on an international roadshow to "answer questions". This follows an international campaign by lobby group AfriForum, that argued that the amendment could "unleash conflict in the country".
In a statement, IRR describes the "impending introduction of a regime of expropriation without compensation as the most significant policy development to confront South Africa since the adoption of the 1996 Constitution".
The institute said it has been approached by "numerous foreign actors" for advice on what is likely to happen.
"IRR analysts will tour Europe and the United States over the next three weeks to address these questions and brief various government, investor, and political groups with interests in South Africa. Some of these briefings will be public while others will occur behind closed doors. Two public reports will be released in Washington and Brussels on the likely consequences of [expropriation without compensation]," reads the statement.
The deadline for written submissions to the Constitutional Review Committee ended on Friday and public consultative meetings in various provinces are now expected to get under way.
Co-chairperson of the committee Vincent Smith, said that they had received 722 125 submissions by close of business on Thursday and he expected the final tally to be close to a million.
The submissions were mostly from organisations opposing expropriation without compensation, with the Freedom Front Plus submitting 101 060 submissions together with their own on Thursday. The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) submitted around 53 000. Cope also lodged 220 000 public submissions collated through an online platform "Dear South Africa", with 56% of those submissions opposing expropriation without compensation.
The process was set in motion in February when the National Assembly adopted a motion – proposed by the EFF but amended by the ANC - that the committee must investigate the feasibility of amending the Constitution to allow expropriation of land without compensation.
Smith said the committee already hired backroom staff to support the committee in categorising the vast amount of submissions.
"I'm very encouraged by the numbers that submitted," said Smith. "It means South Africans are participating and not leaving their fate in the hands of 24 politicians."
The next part of the process is the public hearings in each of the nine provinces.
From June 26 to August 4, the committee will split into two teams and travel to the provinces, where they will hold at least three meetings per province in different venues.
The dates and venues can be seen here.
There will also be one final phase for oral submissions in Parliament from August 7 to 17. Presenters will be invited based on the submissions received.
By the end of September, the committee must report back to Parliament with its recommendation on whether the Constitution should be amended to allow expropriation without compensation, or not.
If it does make this recommendation, and the National Assembly adopts it, the matter will be referred to a committee to write a constitutional amendment, which would also involve a public participation process.
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