IRR to warn Ramaphosa on constitutionality of Expropriation Bill

Apr 03, 2024
Weakening property rights will end any chance of South Africa becoming a prosperous society.
IRR to warn Ramaphosa on constitutionality of Expropriation Bill

Weakening property rights will end any chance of South Africa becoming a prosperous society.

So says the Institute of Race Relations (IRR), which confirmed today that it would be writing to President Cyril Ramaphosa to warn him against the unconstitutionality of the Expropriation Bill and urge him not to sign it into law.

The Bill, which recently passed through Parliament, is now awaiting the President’s signature, after which it will become law.

The Bill remains unconstitutional in many ways – and the IRR will be consulting its legal advisors in preparation for a possible legal challenge against it, should the President nevertheless give his assent to it.

Said Marius Roodt, IRR analyst: ‘The Bill, as it stands, still has serious problems. If the May election brings to power a governing coalition of parties with little concern for the property rights of all South Africans, the Bill will provide those parties with extensive powers to expropriate both land and other property for nil or inadequate compensation.

‘The Bill provides a list of instances in which land – and perhaps also the improvements on it – may  be expropriated for nil compensation. However, this list remains open-ended, which means that nil compensation could also apply in instances not specified in the Bill.’

Said Roodt: ‘This Bill, if passed, will weaken property rights significantly. Property rights are a key cornerstone of democracy and prosperity and any weakening of them will erode any chance South Africa has of becoming a free and prosperous society.’

A major attack on property rights may also condemn South Africans to penury and destitution, said Roodt.

‘In countries where property rights have been weakened significantly, such as Venezuela and Zimbabwe, the biggest victims in those places have been ordinary people, who have become very much poorer. There is no reason to think South Africa will be any different if property rights are attacked in a similar way. This Expropriation Bill should be renamed the Pro-Poverty Bill,’ said Roodt.

The IRR will also be writing to other organisations which have an interest in protecting property rights and will ask them where they stand on the Expropriation Bill. This forms part of the IRR’s campaign to build a pro-growth coalition in support of the pro-investment policies needed for rapid economic growth.

‘This Bill poses a grave threat to this country. Instead of promoting investment, it will drive investors away. Everyone with an interest in a prosperous and free South Africa should oppose it,’ Roodt concluded.


Media contact: Makone Maja, IRR Campaign Manager Tel: 079 418 6676 Email:

Media enquiries: Michael Morris Tel: 066 302 1968 Email:

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