Fighters say two lawyers' organisation argued that constitutional amendment is necessary


Thursday, 6 August, 2018

The Economic Freedom Fighters welcomes the oral presentations by the Black Lawyers Association (BLA), the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (NADEL), and the National African Farmers Union (NAFU), made at the Joint Constitutional Review Committee in Parliament on Wednesday, 5 September. The Constitutional Review Committee was instructed by the National Assembly, following a successful EFF motion, to review and amend Section 25 of the Constitution, in order to allow for expropriation of land without compensation, and to determine land tenure arrangements that would secure rights to land for millions of landless South Africans.

The BLA, NADEL and NAFU provided compelling reasons for the expropriation of land without compensation, and for vesting all land under the custodianship of the State.

Drawing their inspiration from the preamble of our Constitution, which states "South Africa belongs to all who live in it", NADEL argued that to realise this claim, expropriation must not be done under certain circumstances, but "as a means of securing all land and other natural resources under State custodianship."

Both NADEL and BLA dismiss the false narrative by neoliberal academics that as the constitution stands, it allows for land expropriation without compensation. They point out that Section 25(2) of the Constitution is "peremptory in its provisions that property may be expropriated subject to compensation to those affected".

NADEL stated four reasons why there must be expropriation without compensation, namely:

- The inability to effectively provide meaningful redress for black people who were dispossessed of their land,

- The fact that ownership of land and other natural resources is heavily skewed in favour of private owners, and that the State cannot possibly afford to buy the land required for land reform.

- The fact that land, water and other natural resources are not infinite resources.

These must therefore reside under state custody or under a neutral state agency.

NAFU also stated the difficulties black farmers face in operating in the agricultural industry, including lack of access to productive land, lack of access to markets which are controlled in a mafia-like manner by white monopolies, and lack of support from the State for black farmers. They argued that the only way to resolve these problems is for expropriation of land without compensation, and vesting custody of this land over to the people as a whole, represented by the State.

The EFF is inspired that, contrary to mainstream views, black farmers are appreciative of the efforts we have made and that they acknowledge that the proposals we have put in place will help improve entry into agriculture by black people, and sustain their stay in that industry through secure long term leases to the land, and through sustained State support to the industry.

We are also grateful that both NADEL and BLA have cleared the legal confusion caused by embedded academics, who have been arguing against Constitutional amendments. We have been emboldened to keep our eyes on the ball, and ensure that the Constitution is amended for the benefit of all those who are on the margins of property ownership at the moment.

The EFF will separately and consistently engage with NAFU, NADEL, and BLA to draw from their wealth of knowledge in order to develop a process that will amend section 25 of the Constitution to permit for expropriation of Land without compensation.

Statement issued by the Economic Freedom Fighters, 6 September 2018