Earlier this week the New South Wales Legislative Council in Australia carried a motion that strongly condemns expropriation without reasonable compensation (EWC). The motion read inter alia that the Council strongly condemned a) any call for the murder, marginalisation, prosecution, victimisation or targeting of any racial group in South Africa by any of the country’s current or previous officials, as well as b) any legislation that confiscated land from any person in an unfair manner without fair and reasonable compensation.
Minority rights group AfriForum say it is heartening that the international community is standing up to ANC policies with the potential to socially and financially destabilise the country. According to Alana Bailey, Deputy CEO of AfriForum responsible for international liaison, the South African government should take note that this motion in Australia is only the beginning of an intensive international battle that will be fought among international investors and governments against EWC. Bailey argues that the South African government – considering international role-players’ cognisance of the dangerous direction that the ANC government is going with its planned EWC programme – should reconsider its plans to change the South African Constitution to the detriment of property rights.
Bailey points out that, over the last four months, AfriForum paid awareness visits to numerous opinion shapers in the USA, Europe and the United Kingdom, and provided information to role-players in Australia. “AfriForum’s persistent message was that we wanted to see that South Africa continued to receive foreign investments, that the economy should grow and, as a result, also job creation and prosperity for everyone. To obtain this, however, it is necessary that foreign politicians, other opinion shapers and investors put pressure on the South African government to protect property rights,” Bailey says.
According to Bailey, the opinion shapers with whom AfriForum met, including senior politicians from mainstream parties, journalists and thinktank researchers, confirmed AfriForum’s concerns. “Not only are they upset by the possible results of any violation of property rights, but they are also extremely concerned about the effect that the process of EWC will have on political and social stability, as well as on food security in the Southern African region,” Bailey adds.
Bailey says that the motion in Australia follows soon after a warning by the credit rating agency Moody’s in reaction to South Africa’s fiscal deficit and poor economic growth, as well as the International Monetary Fund’s warning that uncertainty about property rights in South Africa poses a threat to South Africa’s economy.
“Reckless statements that show no understanding of the complex nature of 21st century farming, such as the statement this week on land ownership restrictions by the ANC Chairperson Gwede Mantashe, add to increasing foreign concern, criticism and viewpoints,” Bailey concludes.