Effective land reform is still required, but the Draft Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill of 2019 (the Draft Bill) will needlessly undermine the property rights of all South Africans: from the 1 million whites with home ownership to the 8.5 million black, ‘coloured’ and Indian families who own houses too. It will also hurt the 17.5m black people with customary plots, and the thousands of black South Africans who have bought more than 6 million hectares of urban and rural land since 1991.

The Draft Bill has two key clauses. The first allows the courts to decide that ‘nil’ compensation may be paid for land and ‘the improvements thereon’ if these are expropriated for land reform purposes. Improvements include all fixed structures: from houses and office blocks to shopping centres, factories, hotels, and hospitals. The ANC has thus reneged on its earlier promises that expropriation without compensation (EWC) would be confined to land alone.

The second key clause gives Parliament the power to adopt, by a simple (51%) majority, any number of new statutes setting out ‘the specific circumstances’ where the courts may decide that ‘nil’ compensation should be paid.

This will vastly expand the instances in which EWC may apply. It will clearly pave the way for the enactment of the Expropriation Bill of 2019, with its vague and easily expandable list of six instances (already up from the original five) in which nil compensation may apply.

This second clause could also pave the way for a new statute vesting the custodianship of all land and improvements in the government – and stating that this vesting falls within ‘the specific circumstances’ where nil compensation may be paid. Under such a law, title deeds would ‘mean nothing’ (as the EFF has put it) and every individual and business would need a revocable land-use licence from the government for the homes or buildings in which they live or work.

The Draft Bill paves the way, in short, for the custodianship option that both the EFF and the ANC have long desired.  Two stages will be needed – first this Draft Bill and then an ordinary statute – but the custodianship goal will then have been achieved.

The Draft Bill has many other disturbing ramifications. For example, the ANC has repeatedly claimed that EWC will ‘return’ the land to ‘the people’, but this is not so. Land and improvements taken without compensation by the state will be kept in the ownership or custodianship of the government. Ordinary people will not gain individual title, but will at most be given ‘access’ to land on the terms set by the state.

In addition, the Draft Bill will do nothing to cure the ills afflicting land reform. As the Constitutional Court noted in the Mwelase case in August 2019, ‘it is not the Constitution, nor the courts, nor the laws of the country that are at fault’, but rather the massive administrative inefficiency within the state.

Other key constraints, according to the 2017 report of the High Level Panel of Parliament, include ‘increasing evidence of corruption by officials, the diversion of the land reform budget to elites, lack of political will, and a lack of training and capacity’. Important too is the state’s refusal to transfer ownership to emergent farmers, as this bars them from borrowing working capital from banks.

In the urban context, moreover, the Draft Bill will not address the inefficiency, corruption and poor policy choices that underpin persistent failures in state housing delivery. Municipalities lack the skills to service vacant land, while RDP houses are small, poorly located, and often so badly built that people have long been urging the government to transfer the housing subsidy directly to them, as they could do a better job of meeting their housing needs.

The economic fall-out from the Draft Bill is likely to be severe. Even without EWC, the growth rate in 2020 may be a paltry 0.5% of GDP, well below the population growth rate of 1.6%. Public debt already stands at some R3.2 trillion (61% of GDP) and is set to rise to R4.5 trillion (71% of GDP) by 2022. The budget deficit is likely to average 6.2% over this period, while tax revenues will be R250bn lower than projected. Business confidence is at a 35-year low, and capital and skills are fleeing.

The Draft Bill could also trigger a 10% reduction in fixed capital investment (capital formation), which is the life blood of the economy. Such a reduction could tip the country into lengthy recession, further reduce tax revenues, increase public debt, trigger additional ratings downgrades, push up interest rates, and cost tens of thousands of jobs.

Despite the enormous damage likely to result from the Draft Bill, its economic consequences have yet to be evaluated, as required by the government’s Socio-Economic Impact Assessment System (SEIAS). The Draft Bill should, at minimum, have been accompanied by a final SEIAS report setting out its likely costs and consequences – but this has been omitted.

The absence of a final SEIAS report makes it harder for the public to ‘know about the issues’ raised by the Draft Bill and to ‘have an adequate say’. The time allowed for written comments (from 13th December 2019 to 31st January 2020) has also been too short, given the four-week festive season when most people were away from work and home.

The ANC has now further undermined the public participation process by declaring that the Draft Bill must be amended to give the power to decide on compensation to the executive, rather than the courts. Judicial review of the executive’s decisions cannot be excluded, given the Constitution’s guarantee of administrative justice. But the power to review is more limited than the power to decide – which the ANC now wants to reserve for its own cadres.

The ANC’s demand seems calculated to demoralise people and make them question the value of making written comments on a text that may soon change. However, little could be more important than for all South Africans to use the little time remaining to voice their strong objections to the Draft Bill and the massive damage it is sure to cause.

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38 COMMENTS

  1. Presumably, the consumer confidence index will reflect the effects of EWC.
    Specifically, value of building plans approved will surely take a dive, as will the share price of building companies.

    • They will tell you that “jump in the lake” is very much a western term.

      They prefer “sleep under a bush and eat gravel” which is exactly where they are currently heading.

  2. Surely there is something, that we as the citizens of this country, can do to stop all these Internationally recognized illegal laws that goes against the United Nations laws. Should it be left and not dealt with by the UN, it is pointless for them to be in rule too. How can SA say they are a democratic country when there are 130 race based lawa against the white minority group. AA excluded white men back then in the start and now excludes ALL whites. Where is democracy in that? What is the true definition of democracy then? Can we not open a case and many more against the anc govt for degrading this country, causing unemployment % to rise and high costs of living and self enrichment whilst things deteriorate at a n unimaginable speed?! Sure we as the citizens have rights?! Surely the UN can step in where they see it plays against their rules? We are on a runaway train and the brakes have failed long ago! Intervention is needed and very quickly! They, the anc, canNOT be above the law! Where is the known rule of law that the legal or justice system does NOT fall under them and are totally independent?! This is calling for a catastrophy in the whole of South africa!

    • Does anybody think in their right mind that this govt. will tolerate any foreign interference, the rest of the world has brought them into power to do as they please, full stop! Our judiciary & prosecuting services is so dilapidated that they are not even worth a mention. Marikana & the Isedemeni “court cases” prove that. Wait for the state capture prosecutions if you really want to cry or laugh!

  3. The acting against the govt and the govt’s land reform plan must be as quick as possible, no time to wait, gov officials does these underhand changes in the wink of an eye, so sleep with one eye open, if ever. This evolves into the biggest mess, the biggest divisive eruption of our time. And the crime following this explosive eruption is yet to come. May God save South Africa from the ANC and the aftermath.

  4. I agree! The ANC ruins the country in so many ways. A pity the liberals supporting the ANC have little regard for the consequences to the populace.

  5. Don’t bargain on the UN. It is the biggest corrupt organisation in the world. China and Russia also have “veto” rights.

  6. We don’t have a Government. We have a body of people intent on keeping their status quo at all costs. It’s a movement. They don’t govern. If they governed as set out by Madiba, we would all be content to follow their diktats. The stringently strict and beyond comprehension rules and regulations in the lockdown is to keep blacks and colours in line. It puts them in a position of dictatorship. And once more, the poor and uneducated toe the line. What do they know?

  7. Who will actually help us?
    With covid-19 and the economy being in diarstraights with people loosing jobs and unable to pay their bonds, will this be the way that the government is going to lay claim to houses and land?

  8. All the signs are there that the ANC is in the process of changing SA into a communist state, with the help of China Communist Party (CCP). They have started this process long ago and they are quietly bulldozing it forward. All “complaints” and efforts to get international help are simply ignored. This effort to amend the constitution bill regarding EWC is just more (very clear) evidence of it. Their bulldozing is covered up (lied about) in speeches on international platforms.
    CCP is training our police since 2018 – to become as brutal as the police in China. This is already showing in the handling of our people with the enforcement of the covid-19 rules.
    Our country is already “owned” by China. The ANC has borrowed billions of Rands from them and have “strengthened ties” with them (political and commercial – announced on high level platforms with full media coverage). They have advanced this money to SA with the full knowledge that the country in its present state would never be able to repay these loans. In exchange they “obtain” the full rights on our minerals and all underground sources. They happily do so whilst allowing the puppet ANC government to keep on mis-managing the country and play political games ‘thinking’ they are very clever and powerful.

    • “If the supreme law of South Africa then, is the Constitution, then the Constitution surely does not allow for the will of the majority to dictate to the Constitution to expropriate land without compensation. If the will of the majority then dictates to the Constitution in South Africa, the majority might also decide that all the whites in South Africa should be killed which will be an irrational democratic decision but surely not in the interest of the nation at large.”

    • You are spot on William. SA belongs to China now and we’re turning into a communist state. The question is what can we / are we going to do about this?
      My second question is: what happened to the fact that the government is supposed to work for its people and country, not the other way round? The people elected them to be there, so the power should be in the people’s hands to get rid of them too. That’s how it works in the rest of the world. If they don’t govern correctly, get rid of them and elect a new government. They forget that the power of money is still in the people’s hands. If all tax paying South Africans stop paying tax, meaning monthly PAYE and Company Vat at least, which is a huge part of their income, then they will very soon feel the heat. No money to steal, oh my!!
      We all know that NO part of SA ever belonged to them, they came down to the southern parts of Africa long after the Koi San and Europeans arrived. So they DON’T have any rights to South African soil. The parts they did have were bought legally from them. So screw them, if they think they’re going to take my little pondokkie – I’ll burn it to the ground first!!

  9. I am totally aghast at what they are thinking, this is rather scary and it is their intent on running the country as a communist state. They are communist at heart. Visits to China with begging hands out, visits to Cuba seeking medical help as our doctors here must be considered inferior.
    They are power hungry, they have the power in a democratic state but this is not their idea of what they want. They want total control. NO elections etc once you’re in you there for life. Zimbabwe is the most recent example of what can be expected.
    G-d Help us all.

  10. Sorry to pop everyone’s bubble this Friday morning, but reading this article and the responses still does not come up with a solution. Yes, we are stating what the right and ‘democratic’ way is to voice our opinions, but will it help us ? Not at all, they will just ride roughshod over everything we do and laugh at our efforts. You start fighting back on a civil war basis and we will be over run by Chinese soldiers, as they won’t let their investment be taken away from them by a bunch of Motley Whites. Out there in the Big Bad World- no one gives a jot about us. We are and have become expendable. We shall be employed by them for a pittance because we will have no other option (if we cannot leave these shores) since we need some money to exist. But what was once our business, will be taken over by the greater masses with no competence but purely because they are cadres or run by a China man. We are now alone in this, and as Peter says, God help us all, as that is all there is left out there for our existence.

  11. This is how Russia took over so brace yourselves. I am in my later years and honestly I will be please to leave this earth. Nothing left to desire any longer and I am grateful for the life I had despite the Nationalist corruption and their own destruction of human rights. But the ANC is taking the Communistic level to a different height and level. Only problem social media and the fact that a good number of black people have tasted the better life. I sincerely hope that good will prevail over evil. Nasty types are in the government with faces of Dorian Gray. I would love to look in their attic to see what their portrait reveals.

  12. A country gets the government it deserves. We have been voting for the ANC since 1994. So we deserve them. Anybody who thought in 1992, when we voted ‘yes’, that it would be different than what is coming, was extremely naive. Enjoy the choices you made (with two passports in your back pocket). Some more tough choices coming up soon.

  13. Communism and Nationalism [ both with ‘Socialist peoples reforms’] are always the recipes for starvation and hardship of the masses and widespread death in every case. The ruling elites – the central party members – are always made very wealthy out of the process.
    Both systems are oppressive and evil. South Africa could have taken the high road but embarked on the low road under Nelson Mandela [ don’t be fooled by the ‘nice’ uncle exterior]. Democracy by Party – what a joke.
    Maybe Botswana is going to have an economic boom or the Western Cape Province breaks away and becomes the California of South Africa ? Zimbabwe has no options and Namibia is in the same corrupted State trap.
    The high net worth individuals are packing up and leaving – 125 000 of them – taking 58% of the personal income tax base with them. In the next 2 years they will gone and their companies sold or closed or sinking.
    What happens to the average SA Black – your Ministers want to allow wild animal slaughter and consumption….is that what will be left for you to eat? Ever wondered why the Chinese eat any wild animal? Ask them what they went through under oppressive Communism and you get the picture [ 40 million + starved to death].

    If you don’t use your voice now – South Africa – your Covid-19 Masks will become Muzzles of Iron.

  14. I believe the covid crisis has given the Allied Narcistic Criminals an enormous boost to their ultimate goal of complete control. They are aiming for a State of Emergency before the next general election. We are in deep trouble and don’t seem to have any ability to stop them.

  15. 95 % of South Africans are asleep to reality (so is much of the world) which is why the ANC received the majority vote from 1994. The same applies to the Plan Demic created by WHO and UN to maliciously achieve their UN 2030 Agenda.
    I recently learned that Harry Oppenheimer was responsible for grooming Ramaphosa from the 1970’s for the position of president of SA and the African Union just as white global elites have been behind the racist “Black lives matter” riots.
    It all leads towards an extreme left wing communist, authoritarian global system.
    I lived in China and understand the, not to be trusted, Chinese mindset. Chinese don’t own property. The state owns all property which the people lease for 72 years. That is what very well might happen in South Africa.

  16. Who funds these political parties.?
    The White elitists and who are they in SA.?
    If you can’t name them then you know nothing about SA politics and how the World economics functions above the politicians…! (Time to be very aware and informed)

  17. Laziness and expedience always gravitate to the route of least resistance – the Land Restitution process was too onerous – and that’s why this is finding favour with even the more intelligent of ANC followers because who wants to lose out on the spoils of looting never yet seen. Same as AA, BEE, BBEEE, etc.

  18. AfiForum en Soledariteit werk reeds aan ‘n plan om kennis van ander lande in te win om ons regering toewys te maak.

    So hiermee stem ek volkome saam oor wat aan die kom is ‘n GROOT RAMP wat op ons afkom en hiermee wil ek my en vroulief se stemme hier byvoeg by alles wat julle reeds het by te sit en ek sal WhatsApps stuur om so meer stemme te verwerf.

    Wat my bekommer is meer oor ons twee kinders en twee kleindogters ons dogter is 33 seun wat met haar getroud is 40 en kleindogters 4 en 8 jaar oud. Hulle gaan binne kort trek van waar hul tans bly na ‘n grooter huis wat nader aan die skole is, wat is daar wat wederegtelik sal kan teenstaan teen die regering se planne te werk wanneer alles finaal per kontrak kan byvoeg kan word om hulle te beskerm, wat verhoed dat ingryping sal plaasvind?.
    Vroulief en ek woon by Village Walk Aftreelandgoed, Brentwood Park Benoni ons is 34 jaar getroud sy’s 55 en ek’s 66 moet nog hierdie jaar verjaar, hierdie is ons stop voor ons tyd gaan uitloop op aarde afhangende van ons twee se gesondheid. Wat my bekom is ons kinders en vir die twee kleindogters wat nie ‘n rooskleurige toekom in die oë staar nie en veels te klein is om enigsins enigiets hiervan te verstaan of kan inneem.

    Ons vriendin besit Obesa Gastehuis in Graaff Reinet as betuurder en bestuurder ook hulle DBV wat reeds afbetalings in oë staar waar sy moet afdankings moet behartige en sy is daai soort mens vir dit nie sy meer as net ‘n mense mens vir die wêreld ooit weer sal hê of sien. Die DBV sê sy vir my gister 09de Julie staan die DBV op eenbeen na ‘n mislikte geld insameling laasjaar vir die DBV so uit gedraai het en kan sy self nie help red nie want die banke wil nie vir haar meer geld leen nie en die plek is haar baba vir +- 35jaar al sy sê, “Ek gaan lê nie ek bly veg vir die twee plekke”.

  19. I love South Africa. We live in one of the most beautiful places on planet earth. We can still enjoy many things other countries cannot. We have some of the best meat, wine, fresh produce, restaurants, beaches and, the best rugby team in the world! Couple this with fantastic weather. BUT, it’s very, very sad to say and to see, that this beautiful country is sliding down, rapidly. And I’m afraid to say the worst is yet to come… Our government is corrupt to the core, and the looting over the past 20 years or so has caused irreparable damage to the majority of our citizens. When/if our already fragile legal system and courts can manage to put some of these corrupt individuals behind bars – this will take years to happen – remains to be seen. Only prayer and a miracle can save SA right now.

  20. My concern is that whatever the ANC party and government does is “not their fault” but the blame lies squarely in the hands of the majority of citizens who voted and continue to vote them into power, fully aware of their evil intentions and actions already experienced since 1994. May our Good Lord be with you, yours and South Africa.

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