EWC: Majority of submissions against change to constitution - Thandeka Mbabama

DA MP says ANC’s lack of political will and rampant corruption mostly blamed for failed land reform

Oral submissions confirm majority do not want to change the Constitution for land reform

The DA is encouraged by the fact that various groups that made oral presentations to the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) in Parliament this week supported the DA’s position that Section 25 of the Constitution need not be amended to implement meaningful land reform.

The DA fully supports land form and believe that it is a vital instrument to correct the injustices of the past. However, it is not necessary to change Section 25 of the Constitution to achieve reform.

The majority of the groups who made oral submissions agreed that the ANC’s lack of political will and rampant corruption have failed land reform, a position the DA has long held.

The news of the country’s economy being in a recession does not bode well for stability and job creation in a country with almost 10 million people who remain unemployed.

To add insult to injury, the uncertainty surrounding land expropriation without compensation has already impacted investment and growth in the agriculture sector with the sector contracting by nearly 30%.

AgriSA echoed this sentiment in their presentation that expropriation without compensation has already caused a significant lag in capital investment in the agriculture sector. AgriSA, the Banking Association of South Africa and Business Unity South Africa agree that an amendment of the property clause will undermine investment and result in capital flight and a weaker rand.

Universities that were represented at the hearings this week highlighted the findings from the High-Level Panel report by former President Kgalema Motlanthe and agreed with the findings that institutional challenges and a lack of political will are mainly to blame for the slow pace of land reform. Prof. Elmien du Plessis state that expropriation with or without compensation does not equal land reform.

Groups such as the Alliance for Rural Democracy, highlighted the lack of tenure security amongst millions of people such as those living in communal areas. This is due to a lack of protection by the ANC led government as mandated by the Constitution.

Non-profit organisation, Phuhlisani NPC, also added that there is no evidence to suggest that expropriation without compensation will accelerate land reform, with the Helen Suzman Foundation arguing it is likely to delay land reform due to litigation. They added that the review of the Constitution is simply a diversion tactic from the widely acknowledged failures of land reform under the ANC government over the past 24 years.

Even the ANC’s alliance partner, COSATU, agreed that Section 25 is adequate to empower the government to implement land reform.

The DA expects the Committee to consider the views of the majority who do not believe that the Constitution must be changed. The issue here is not the Constitution, it is the ANC that has failed to give our people ownership for the last 24 years.

The DA strongly believes that we can deliver effective land reform without changing the Constitution, which we have implemented successfully where we govern. The DA believes that:

South Africans should own their property and not be tenants like the ANC and EFF want;

Urban land reform must be sped up to give people access to property closer to city centres; and

Emerging farmers must be given the support they need to be successful.

While the ANC is engaged in populist slogans to try and hide from its failed land reform policies, the DA is committed to an effective land reform process which will truly be beneficial to the South African people. Our track record, where we govern, of both rural and urban land reform indicate our commitment to ensuring that we place land with title in the hands of black South Africans.

Statement issued by Thandeka Mbabama MP, DA Shadow Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, 7 September 2018