The ACDP is shocked at last night’s announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa that the ANC intends to amend the Constitution to allow expropriation of land without compensation, under certain conditions.
We believe that this decision is irresponsible and premature given that the parliamentary public hearings have not been concluded, and the more than 500 000 written submissions have not yet been considered by parliament.
We are further disappointed that the president decided to ignore warnings from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) who have also confirmed that land expropriation without compensation will impact the economy negatively.
President Ramaphosa must also provide details as to how the ANC’s conditions that such an amendment should not affect food production, agricultural development and the economy will be ensured. It is highly likely that such an amendment will negatively impact these areas, with the currency already having weakened since this announcement was made.
The ACDP supports orderly land reform based on restitution and ‘just and equitable’ compensation being paid in accordance with section 25 of the Constitution. Section 25, in our view, should not be amended. Instead, the existing parameters of section 25 should be applied, with the Constitutional Court giving guidance as to what ‘just and equitable’ compensation means within the context of section 25. Many commentators believe that section 25 as it is presently worded allows for reduced compensation.
One of the main reasons why there are still outstanding claims in terms of the Restitution of Land Rights Act of 1994 is due to incapacity and allegations of corruption within the department of rural development and land reform (as highlighted in the Motlanthe High Level Panel Report). How will this same department be trusted to implement expropriation of land without compensation?
The ACDP will also oppose any move to allow the state to be custodian of all land. We are concerned that the ANC is not giving title deeds to emerging farmers and urban residents. The millions of hectares of land owned at national, provincial and local level, as well as by state-owned companies should first be redistributed following a full and comprehensive land audit, given the uncertainties with the present government land audits.
It is very clear that this very emotive and sensitive issue is being used by the ANC as a campaigning tool in the run-up to the 2019 general elections, given the party's strong stance in opposing expropriation without compensation when the matter was debated in Parliament last year.
While the ACDP appreciates the need for land reform and restitution, we also understand the need for nation-building, peace and reconciliation. We will thus oppose the ANC’s proposal to amend the Constitution.
ISSUED BY: REV KENNETH MESHOE MP
1 August 2018