Banking association urges protection of property rights in expropriation move

The Banking Association of South Africa has urged government to protect property rights, as Parliament announced it would adopt the Constitutional Review Committee’s report recommending amendments to the Constitution that would allow for the expropriation of land without compensation.

The joint constitutional review committee made the announcement on Thursday morning.

After the majority of MPs voted for the proposed change, Parliament said it must now be considered by the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).

In a statement released on Thursday afternoon Basa said it supported land reform, as the country had not adequately dealt with the consequences of land deprivation during apartheid and colonialism.

"Land restitution, redistribution and security of tenure are means of providing vulnerable people with access to secure incomes and opportunities to create the generational wealth needed to correct the injustices of the past," the statement said.

Basa urged delicate care to ensure that amendments to the Constitution do not weaken or reduce property rights in South Africa, as this would present a risk to banks and the country’s ability to attract investment.

"We urge the Constitutional Review Committee, Parliament and the relevant government departments to expedite crisp, clear policy and legislative frameworks in respect of expropriation without compensation, as soon as possible," said the statement.

South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO Alan Mukoki told Fin24 that the chamber would consult with its members and issue a formal response to the latest developments soon.

Meanwhile, Business Unity South Africa (Busa) has called for "a clear plan and timelines about the framework the government will pursue in order to realise land expropriation without compensation" including clarity about the role of the recently appointed land advisory panel.

"Business is of the view that the country’s land question ought to be addressed conclusively in a fair, just, equitable and transparent manner," the organisation said in a statement.

It added that it was ready to play a constructive role in the process.

“We have just emerged from a trying period of political uncertainty that manifested in economic stagnation. As we confront the land question, Busa calls for a unifying approach that will inspire confidence and solve the land question constructively,” said Busa president Sipho Pityana.  

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