Land Issue Can Make Or Break ANC - The Citizen

15 February 2021 - The single most important test on whether the South African government is serious about staging an economic recovery remains its position on expropriation.

The single most important test on whether the South African government is serious about staging an economic recovery remains its position on expropriation.

Since the adoption of the EWC resolution by the ANC at its 2017 Nasrec conference, the rate of fixed investment to GDP in South Africa has fallen sharply. It is increasingly well understood in business and by the broader investment community that the purpose behind the ANC's expropriation drive is to use emotions around land to empower the state to seize any fixed or movable property without compensation.

Given the government's debt curve, its aversion to surrendering policy to foreign financiers, and the political impossibility of public-sector wage cuts, the risk of the employment of the draft Expropriation Bill and accompanying Constitutional amendment to backstop future attempts at asset prescription, price controls, and nationalisation is obvious.

Should the state not back out of its EWC drive, and proceed to adopt the policy as law, the likely outcome will be to stunt South Africa's growth and economic development prospects for at least the next 20 years. The period to comment on the draft legislation has been extended.

At the IRR we are leading a lobby to have the policy of EWC abandoned. Over the past three years our advocacy efforts have delivered more than 200 000 submissions to lawmakers, while our global lobbying efforts have reached from Asia through the Middle East to Europe and America.

Domestically we are pleased to see a number of agricultural, academic and business institutions create and drive their own lobbies. More than the economy, given the tie between property rights and civil rights, this is a fight for South Africa's survival as a free society with the prospect of growing its economy strongly enough over the next 20 years that it might see the great majority of its people join the middle classes.

If you have not yet endorsed a lobby to stop EWC you should strongly consider doing so now as there will unlikely be another opportunity and the costs, direct and indirect, of losing this fight are something you will directly contend with for much of the rest of your life.

Frans Cronje, Institute of Race Relations

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