One Can’t “Cherry-Pick” the Provisions of Our Constitution!!

2016-08-23 06:35

I’ve been amused at how quick the EFF has been to criticise the ANC leadership for not abiding by provisions of the country’s Constitution and yet has “expropriation of land without compensation” as one of its “non-negotiable policies” – something that is, very clearly, unconstitutional!!

Since the ANC’s humbling in the recent Municipal Elections, the EFF’s Commander-in-Chief, Julius Malema, is reported to have said the following:

• “We warned them (the ANC) about playing with the Constitution … now they say the EFF is their natural ally when they were beating us up in Parliament.” (Natasha Marrian -Business Day Live 5 August 2016); and

• “Don’t play games with the Constitution, the Constitution is dancing now.” (Tshidi Madia - News24 5 August 2016).

… and yet, the EFF stands for “expropriation of land without compensation” – totally at odds with our Constitution!

It’s hardly surprising that such action is unconstitutional as it is nothing less than the outright theft of land.

I’m not a Constitutional Law expert – in fact, I’m not even a lawyer – but the protection of property rights is very clearly, and adequately, enshrined in Section 25 of the Constitution.

The section has 9 sub-sections which deal with matters of equity/fairness and specifically with the expropriation of land, when such expropriation is done in the public interest – with “public interest” being further defined as including action taken in pursuance of SA’s “Land Reform Policy”.

However, the section, very importantly, requires that “just and equitable” compensation be paid to the party who is being dispossessed of such land.

I find the proposition of expropriating land, without paying compensation, completely unjust and inequitable!! In fact, it surprises me that many of my compatriots do not!

How can it be, for example, just and equitable that a person who decides to purchase a farm, on which to farm, is subsequently deprived of his land (without being paid compensation), whilst another person, with the same wealth and annual income as the first-mentioned, can rent a luxury apartment and spend his money on fast cars etc but does not suffer the same “punishment” as the farm-owner?

I believe that people need to be reminded that our Constitution comes as a complete package, and is not something that one can “cherry-pick” ie one can’t abide by/respect the provisions that one likes, and ignore the provisions that one doesn’t like!

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