AfriForum today submitted commentary in the form of oral submissions to the Ad Hoc Committee on Legislation Amending Section 25 regarding the amendment to section 25 of the Constitution, as well as to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure, against the Expropriation Bill B 23-2020. Ernst Roets, AfriForum’s Head of Policy and Action, presented AfriForum’s comments on the amendment of section 25 during a live online session, and Ernst van Zyl, Campaign Officer for strategy and content at AfriForum, presented AfriForum’s comments on the Expropriation Bill.
Roets argued that expropriation without compensation will not promote freedom, justice or equality, nor will it lead to increased job creation, given that all the available evidence and experience with regard to this policy point to the contrary. Roets argued that the approach to land reform should be more empirical in the sense that policy decisions should take cognisance of realities on ground level, which indicate a dismal failure with regard to land reform policies to date. “The fact that more than 90% of government-driven land reform projects have failed indicates that a more aggressive implementation of an already failed policy would only lead to a more aggressive failure. In this regard, it is clear that politicians are out of touch with reality.”
AfriForum presented comments on the 2020 Expropriation Bill as well and argued that it should not be adopted. Van Zyl argued that the Bill will have devastating impacts on South Africans’ lives in the contexts of home ownership, food security and economic stability. Furthermore, AfriForum argued that various sections of the Bill are unconstitutional as well.
“If this Bill is adopted it will have severely negative consequences for the already struggling economy, cruelly deprive citizens of their property rights and destabilise the banking sector. It must be noted that the Bill is not restricted only to farmland. With regard to expropriation without compensation, it extends to all forms of property, including movable property and intellectual property. The Bill’s ‘Expropriate now, argue later’ approach is a complete consolidation of government power to confiscate property without judicial oversight,” says Van Zyl.
“This Bill’s purpose cannot be construed as to ‘right the wrongs of the past’. All it does is to enable further wrongs to be committed in the present. The purpose of the Bill seems to be to give government near unrestricted power to be able to confiscate property from citizens, simple as that,” Van Zyl concludes.
The Bill was published in October 2020 and brought before parliament and relevant committees to discuss its constitutionality and mandates. The Bill was open to written comments from the public, with an initial closing date for submission of 28 February 2021, to which AfriForum submitted written comments.