South Africa faces serious challenges, especially the threat to property rights in the drive towards Expropriation without Compensation, which is codified in the Expropriation Bill and reinforced by the determination of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) to force through an amendment to the constitution.
‘Today we are at a watershed moment,’ said Corrigan. ‘This is a point at which we need to declare a willingness to confront, however heretical it seems, the implications of the ideological currents that shape the decisions and policies taken by the South African government.’
The fate of farmers was ‘the litmus test of what will happen to us all. Given what is at stake, in many respects all South Africans are commercial farmers today’.
Sketching an overview of current developments, Corrigan cited IRR analysis showing that many in the ANC and in government were committed to empowering the state to intrude ever more deeply into the lives and property of South Africans. At the same time, demographic trends and economic failings were working against the ANC’s electoral dominance.
‘The ANC is rapidly running out of room to manoeuvre and is trapped in an ideological prison of its own making. Unable to reform, the ANC is likely to preside over an economy that is unable to grow, and so turns instead to racial nationalist incitement to detract attention from its failures, animate its supporters to vote, and to open the way to the erosion of civil liberties and the rule of law – should it in time come to that,’ said Corrigan.
Appeasement had not proved to be an effective response. Too often organised interests had thrown away their influence by attempting to cut deals, or by attempting to win favour by representing government to their constituencies, rather than vice versa.
This must stop. South Africans need to realise the gravity of the situation and push back. Central to this is for organisations to challenge these dangerous trends in the realm of ideas. Objecting to the reckless course of events, and countering it with solid arguments – directed not only at government or the ruling party, but at society as a whole – is crucial.
The IRR has frequently called on people to take up this responsibility.
Corrigan noted that the IRR had repeatedly stated over the past twelve months: ‘We cannot guarantee you that we will win because it is now late in the day, and more apparent than ever that those who assured you there was nothing to fear have been wrong all along. But we can guarantee you that we will fight so that we know we did all we could.’
· Over 150 000 South Africans have given the IRR a mandate to fight Expropriation without Compensation (EWC) on their behalf. In the next few weeks, the IRR will hand to the Office of the President each individual mandate from every South African who has supported us in opposing EWC. Join them, by endorsing our letter to the President at www.irr.org.za.