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.