Tens of thousands of South Africans are registering their opposition to the government’s proposal to take land without paying for it ahead of Friday’s deadline for public comment.

By this morning, more than 34 000 people – up from 12 500 on Saturday – had endorsed the Institute of Race Relations’ (IRR) submission to the Joint Constitutional Review Committee opposing Expropriation without Compensation and the erosion of property rights, and proposing constructive measures to achieve long-overdue land reform.

The IRR is finalising arrangements to hand over the thousands of endorsements at Parliament on Friday.

The detailed submission is underpinned by research showing that a future in which sizable numbers of black commercial farmers are assisted into business, securely holding their land, is by no means beyond South Africa’s reach – provided the necessary conditions are put in place.

It warns that the implications of expropriation without compensation are severe and will stunt South Africa’s economy and undermine its democracy.

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The submission was posted on the IRR website on Tuesday 5 June; within five days, it had gained 12 500 endorsements. That number had exceeded 34 000 early today (12 June).

The huge numbers of South Africans from all communities and all walks of life endorsing the IRR submission reflects mounting anxiety about the threat to property rights.

Friday 15 June is the deadline for public comment set by the government.

The IRR’s submission emphasises that

  • Property rights are a critical asset for the wellbeing and advancement of all South Africans
  • Property rights are not the reason why land reform has failed
  • There is little popular demand from poor people to go back to the land
  • Expropriation without compensation will cause great economic and political damage
  • There are much better ways, which require urgent attention, to help emerging farmers succeed

The IRR has pointed out that detailed research-based submissions of the kind it has urged the public to support are critical to informed and constructive public participation. Without expertly drafted submissions, few citizens are in a position to respond to a subject as complex and far-reaching as changing the status of property rights as a means of advancing land reform.

The IRR’s submission, here, is indispensable to enabling ordinary people to let their voice be heard in helping to protect property rights in South Africa.

Taking the campaign overseas

Later this month, the IRR will be taking the campaign overseas with the message that South Africans need international support in protecting their property rights from a government that intends to take them away.

The IRR makes the case for genuine, far-reaching land reform, founded on property rights, and capable of supporting legions emerging black farmers whose rise, eminence, success and expansion would be the most powerful answer South Africa could offer to the historical denial of property rights to black people.

Read more about the IRR’s research here.


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