Africa & WorldAgriculture

SA: Western Cape says it ‘will firmly reject’ Zimbabwe-style land grabs

The Western Cape Government has confirmed it will firmly reject any action to amend the Constitution in a manner that would allow the redistribution of property without compensation. 

Land Expropriation is hurtling towards Parliamentary approval, and those in opposition to the policy are running out of time to halt the process.

In Zimbabwe’s fast-track land resettlement programme of the early 2000s, previous landowners and white farmers were forced from their properties during a wave of unrest led by war veterans and tolerated by Robert Mugabe.

This severely undermined property rights in and, in the years to follow, economic strife hit Zimbabwe hard. In trying to correct injustices of the past, the Mugabe regime committed one of its own.

The Western Cape Government has warned that South Africa is ‘on track’ to follow Zimbabwe’s unenviable path.

“The introduction of expropriation without compensation threatens to undermine the property rights of those who were previously disadvantaged and who have worked tirelessly to own their property. This policy will not address the slow pace of land reform and is unlikely to improve the livelihoods of those previously disadvantaged.”

“Research shows us that where similar policies were implemented in Portugal, Ethiopia, and Zimbabwe, those countries experienced an average 13.9% decline in their GDP which led to higher interest rates and public debt, reducing service delivery. This further shows us that the policy will likely worsen the livelihoods of those previously disadvantaged.”

Western Cape Government

Alan Winde, the Western Cape Premier, also noted his disdain for the proposals. He is worried about the wording of the land expropriation bill, and suggests that handing more power to the state ‘cannot be a good thing’.

“The current amendment Bill is also not only confusing and ambiguous but, on one possible reading, also seeks to exclude the important and constitutional role that courts should play in determining the amount of compensation paid. It also aims to further centralise power to the state by introducing the concept of ‘state custodianship’.”

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