Will banks expect South Africans to pay off debt on expropriated properties? – IRR

7 July 2020 - The IRR is this week relaunching an open-letter campaign to ask the banking sector a fundamental question: will they expect their clients to pay off debt on properties expropriated without compensation by the government?

The IRR is this week relaunching an open-letter campaign to ask the banking sector a fundamental question: will they expect their clients to pay off debt on properties expropriated without compensation by the government?

The campaign will continue the engagement with corporate South Africa on the issue of property rights that was well on its way when the Covid-19 pandemic struck.

While the pandemic interrupted the parliamentary process launched by the ANC-SACP government to undermine South Africans’ property rights by constitutional amendment, it has become evident in recent days that the interruption was only a temporary setback for the ideologues in the Tripartite Alliance and their shock jocks in the EFF. With the National Assembly’s adopting a motion to re-establish the ad hoc committee on amending section 25 of the Constitution, it is clear that those bent on destroying property rights have no intention of letting South Africans own what they have worked hard to earn.

Said IRR deputy head of policy research Hermann Pretorius: “There is no doubt in our minds that the ANC-SACP government will use the Covid-19 crisis and the current economic disaster as a cover to aggressively pursue expropriation without compensation (EWC). They have already shown their ideological addiction to ever-greater government control during the lockdown.”

“While hard-working South Africans have long ceased hoping the government will act in their interests, there is still some hope that South Africa’s banking sector will be brave enough to speak out on behalf of their clients’ right to securely own property.”

Pretorius added: “When we launched our corporate pressure campaign against EWC in February, South Africans were hoping to get a straight answer from the banks – would they stand up for the property rights of ordinary South Africans?

“From the responses we received earlier in the year, a pattern soon emerged: the banks think land reform is important; they won’t say anything about the security of property rights; they won’t state their opposition to the destruction of property rights; they won’t be standing up for the property rights of their clients; they didn’t make submissions to Parliament in opposition to EWC when they could have done so; they will be expecting their clients to pay for the privilege of losing property through EWC; and, if South Africans want to ask any further difficult questions, the banks would rather not answer.”

“This simply wasn’t good enough before the Covid-19 pandemic, and it certainly isn’t good enough now.

“South Africans deserve to know that their banks, the entities trusted to safeguard their clients’ finances, are willing to stand up for property rights. The banking sector can either protect the interests and property rights of clients, or it can sell them out to the ANC-SACP government in return for promises of taxpayer money to fill the R1.8 trillion-hole EWC will blow in its books.”

Pretorius said: “The IRR will make sure corporate South Africa understands that selling out the people of South Africa to secure a sweetheart deal for government favour simply isn’t an option.”


Media contact: Hermann Pretorius, IRR Deputy Head of Policy Research – 079 875 4290; hermann@irr.org.za
Media enquiries: Michael Morris Tel: 066 302 1968 Email: michael@irr.org.za
Kelebogile Leepile Tel: 079 051 0073 Email: kelebogile@irr.org.za
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