Constitution does provide for land expropriation without compensation - UDM

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Cape Town – The South African Constitution does make provision for land expropriation without compensation under specific circumstances, said Nqabayomzi Kwankwa, President of the United Democratic Movement (UDM) and a member of Parliament. 

Kwankwa, who was one of the speakers at a roundtable panel discussion hosted by the Graduate School of Business (GSB) of the University of Cape Town, said South Africa’s legislation does make provision for the “things South Africans are fighting about”. 

“We need to look at these pieces of legislation to see what their shortcomings are,” Kwankwa said. "The conversation that we should be having is if we can extend the section in the Constitution (Section 25 subsection 2) to expropriate land where it's in the public interest." 

During the panel discussion, themed Perspectives on Radical Economic Transformation, speakers elaborated on the progress made with transformation in South Africa and what such transformation should entail. 

Kwankwa particularly took issue with government’s land redistribution programme, which according to him, is failing in many respects. 

“With the current land redistribution programme government takes land from a farmer, whether black, pink or white and give it to a farmer. But where’s the post-settlement support? 

“You find that people who receive land neither have the skills nor the capacity to work that land. In addition, these ‘programmes’ are underfunded,” he said. 

Kwankwa also alleged that the recipients of land are often assigned a so-called partner who is often someone from “one or other political faction” who runs the operation on behalf of the land recipient. 

“In such an instance it’s just to tick the box and help with compliance, while the beneficiary doesn’t have a significant role to play. So what is basically happening is government is changing the complexion of the oppressor so to speak. That’s not transformation.” 

State-owned enterprises and private sector differ ideologically 

Another panellist at the roundtable discussion, Sean Gossel from the GSB, pointed out that South Africa’s state-owned enterprises are a good example of the “different factions in government speaking a different language”.

He reminded the audience that Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba when he was still public enterprises minister was on record saying it’s not the role of SOEs to make a profit, but rather to “absorb un-absorbable labour”. 

“So, naturally our SOEs are in a state of dysfunction, because there’s no talent at SOEs,” Gossel said.

 According to Gossel, one needs to listen carefully when ministers are speaking, because there are different factions at play. 

It’s for example not government policy to apply private sector principles to the SOEs, or vice versa. “These are two very different ideologies,” Gossel said.

ANC and DA policies 'are the same'

The third panelist, Mncane Mthunzi, President of the Black Management Forum (BMF), opined that the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the ANC have the same policies. 

“The DA has a leader (Mmusi Maimane) who is taking the policies of the ANC, including taking Mandela, and he wins.”

However, the difference lies in how the two political parties want to address the injustices of the past, Mthunzi said. 

“The ANC says we should have BEE (Black Economic Empowerment) and other policies that would redress those imbalances, while the DA says: ‘No, now that you are free you should go and compete with everyone else because it’s a free society.’” 

Mthunzi believes South Africans need to have “the heart” to take care of people who cannot afford to take care of themselves. 

“That’s why I don’t have a problem paying (personal income) tax of 45% if it is ploughed back into the economy to help these people.” 

It’s however a problem when tax money is misappropriated, Mthunzi said. “That’s where the pain comes in – the fact that we can’t benefit from it (paying tax).” 

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