IRR launches campaign to block the Expropriation Bill and implement genuine land reform instead

11 August 2022 - The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) is once more calling for South Africans to join the fight against Expropriation without Compensation (EWC), this time in the guise of the Expropriation Bill.

The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) is calling for South Africans to join the fight against the resurrection of Expropriation without Compensation (EWC), this time in the guise of the Expropriation Bill.

The IRR played a leading role in opposing attempts to introduce EWC through the attempted constitutional amendment.

But it warns that the challenge this second time round will be more difficult.

The Expropriation Bill, which was tabled in Parliament towards the end of 2020, did not come to a vote, and almost disappeared into obscurity – until last month’s ANC Policy Conference where President Cyril Ramaphosa re-energised the call for EWC.

Ramaphosa told the ANC conference that “despite the setback of our efforts to amend Section 25 of our [sic] Constitution we must continue to pursue all available options, including through legislation, like the Expropriation Bill, to implement the resolution of our 54th Conference on land redistribution without compensation”.

Several factors make the challenge against the Expropriation Bill more difficult than earlier initiatives to oppose EWC.

First, the bill can be passed by a simple majority (50% + 1) in Parliament.

Second, South Africa’s working class has been devastated. Over 1.5 million jobs lost during the government-imposed lockdown have not come back and real GDP per capita is below 2011 levels. Inflation has further eroded real incomes. Ordinary people are increasingly short on the time and resources needed to push back against the statist attempts to capture more assets through EWC.

Third, international leaders bidding for the ANC-led government’s condemnation of Russia are now less willing to warn of the critical threats posed by policies such as EWC. This was recently demonstrated by the US delegation’s latest Africa tour, which unlike in the past was silent on the risks of EWC.

However, the battle is not lost if ordinary South Africans have anything to do with it. In 2020 the IRR commissioned an independent polling company to survey a random, demographically representative sample of South Africans to ask many questions, one of which was: “Do you prefer a political party which promises faster economic growth and more jobs, or one which promises land expropriation without compensation as redress for past wrongs?”

Roughly 15% of white respondents said they would prefer promises of EWC to economic growth and more jobs. However, over 80% of respondents of all races said they would prefer more jobs and growth.

This may explain why only 204 votes were cast in favour of EWC in the National Assembly, which has 400 seats. Roughly two dozen ANC MPs avoided voting for EWC, showing that even among elite party leaders some still understand ordinary people’s preference to live in a country where being dispossessed by the government is illegal. Laws against corruption are poorly enforced, but the majority of the electorate knows that legalising statist asset capture would be the last straw.

Said IRR Head of Campaigns Gabriel Crouse: “EWC means, ‘Zimbabwe here we come’. EWC means ‘Stay in the unemployment line’. EWC means ‘Don’t invest your money here, the police might take it’. EWC means ‘Don’t build factories here’. Ordinary people will have to say no to EWC before it is too late.”

Go to: https://irr.org.za/campaigns/stop-expropriation-without-compensation

* Afrikaans-language media are requested to retain the acronym ‘IRR’, rather than using ‘IRV’.

Media contacts: Gabriel Crouse, IRR Head of Campaigns – 082 510 0360; gabriel@irr.org.za

Mlondi Mdluli, IRR Campaign Manager- 071 148 2971; mlondi@irr.org.za

Media enquiries: Michael Morris Tel: 066 302 1968 Email: michael@irr.org.za

 

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