Taking a stand on EWC – Afrikanerbond

Organisation says govt pressing on with ill-considered plans with a purely ideological motive

Taking a stand on expropriation without compensation

24 November 2019

The Afrikanerbond has given support throughout for any initiative which establishes property rights for everyone in South Africa. This has to happen in a free and open market where there is an equal opportunity, with or without assistance from the State, for everyone to be able to acquire property. There is more than enough opportunity in agriculture, as one of these components, to acquire valuable property. Many proposals have already been made in the past to find creative solutions.

We are committed to the national accord, also with regard to land redistribution and restitution as agreed upon in 1994. In this process, there were lots of opportunities and goodwill to achieve these aims meaningfully. In the past two decades, numerous discussions were held between representatives of organised agriculture, organisations with an interest in the matter, and the government. Stacks of documents and comments were provided on many White Papers and bills. In recent years, the goalposts and policy frameworks have invariably been shifted as the government came under ever-increasing pressure. The proposed amendment to the constitution is a desperate attempt to save a government from its own incompetence. The present government can no longer be trusted on many levels and has already brought this nation to its knees on several fronts.

The opportunities were bungled, however, by an inept and incompetent government and the clumsy implementation of policy with large-scale corruption. This is why the Afrikanerbond despises opportunistic actions and statements about trying to acquire property now, or to expropriate it or misuse the processes. Golden opportunities have been botched by an inept and incompetent government with its clumsy policy implementation and blatant lies. Even shameless appropriation based on descent or race or misrepresentations have been presented  as rights, without being able to make any claims to property rights on merit. This can no longer be tolerated or accepted.

We want to state plainly that any process to make a change in property rights in section 25 of the Constitution cannot be accepted. All the existing methods and possibilities have not even remotely been fully explored. The deprivation and expropriation of property are now only becoming a symbol for political purposes. To start a process of expropriation without compensation, no matter how it is disguised, is a unilateral breach of the 1994 national accord and an undermining of the 1996 Constitution.

Watering down the property rights would hold far-reaching implications for any confidence in South Africa, its government and future investment. This is valid for national and international confidence and would have enormous negative implications for every South African. That is why the Afrikanerbond will oppose any process which envisages or anticipates amendments.

- South Africans who strive for constitutional values and ideals and want to promote them should be mobilised to oppose such amendments.

- All those involved in the successful transition to the new Constitution should be called up to reject this unilateral undermining of the Constitution.

- We will also support the international actions that are already in progress to keep foreign governments informed. 

- Investment partners in the country must be warned that South Africa is currently speaking with a forked tongue about property rights and investments in the country, and that no property rights can be guaranteed if section 25 were to be amended.

We are deeply concerned and frustrated about the handling of this process to date, and have already spoken about this to various moderate and realistic politicians across the political spectrum and have detected a reciprocal concern among all of them. The Afrikanerbond gave comprehensive written comments in the public participation process, we and also provided input to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee.

In spite of all this, the government is pressing on with ill-considered plans with a purely ideological motive. It was clearly observable in the attitude of Dr Motshekga, chair of the Parliamentary Ad Hoc Committee. The initial approach with Dr Motshekga was followed up by a written invitation to a discussion with clear viewpoints. He, however, preferred to commit us to his process based on his ideology and we reject that unequivocally.

We would have liked to find out from him why so much symbolic value was being attached to the public participation process which had in so many ways provided reasonable inputs, but  the ANC still prefers to take the path of emotional political rhetoric and an obsolete and unworkable ideology. It is clear that the inputs given have not even been considered or taken into account.

On the contrary. Dr Motshekga himself still preferred to introduce the recent workshop of the Parliamentary Ad Hoc Committee with old rhetoric of land ownership, whereas the true and indisputable facts have been repeatedly pointed out. This is nothing but desperate attempts to give credibility to an unlawful process of taking land away from its legal owners.

Dr Motshekga and everyone who is involved in the process of amending the Constitution should perhaps reread the history of the magnanimous political steps taken since the nineteen eighties, which led to negotiations among different parties, the acceptance of the 34 constitutional principles and the final Constitution of 1996. This was the foundation on which South Africa was built, and it allows for a multitude of identities, the convergence of backgrounds and cultures, life styles and influences.

The ANC is now allowing itself to be led by the nose by its devotion to ideology and elevates  it (as we have experienced from the ANC over the years), above the Constitution and the people of South Africa. Now is the time for reasonable people and political parties and institutions in civil society to take a stance against the ANC’s political transgressions of power. The country’s potential could be fully realised and success is possible, but only within a framework of absolute honesty and integrity, merits and statesmanship. This is the only counter against the present obscure motives and continuous revolutionary talk. South Africa deserves far better.

Issued by Jan Bosman, Chairperson, Afrikanderbond, 24 November 2019