Real Estate Investor October 2020 October/November 2020 - Page 16

COVER STORY

25

years after democracy , the dawning of a new era , underprivileged ( majority black ) South Africans from disadvantaged communities still find themselves at the bottom of the country ’ s developmental hierarchy of priorities . What the affluent class know to be fundamental and basic in SA , the majority deems a luxury . Something as important as a roof , that which nobody cannot live without , the disadvantaged people of South Africa fight for every other day against the authorities across the country in the form of forced removals .
These are the inequalities that the government ’ s inability to resolve the land question leave us in as a country . They factor greatly in the government ’ s inability to boost and grow the economy . The economic under performance in the country is gaining more strength due to the pandemic and the status of land reform in SA is not making it any easier .
Land Reform
Land reform has been on our tongues for quite a while now , it ’ s been in the government ’ s pipeline for a long time and transformation regarding land is being said to be made but there is no evidence for it . This is concerning , not only because land is referred to as the only asset that would set the people of South Africa free economically , but also because the instability and indecisiveness from our government about who owns what land isn ’ t affording the country the investor confidence and the economic growth it needs .
Business Leadership South Africa CEO , Busisiwe Mavuso believes that thriving through poverty , unemployment and the terrible inequalities among South Africans begins at consolidating and finalising the land reform question which she believes is more of a political incompetence issue in the South African government .
“ The land issue is not an economic process issue , it is a social justice process issue ,” Mavuso says . In her presentation at the Free Market Foundation ’ s virtual event titled Turning Disaster Into an Opportunity she pointed out how the South African government has failed to provide a solution to the social imprisonment of South Africans by not attending to and consolidating the land question .
While Mavuso is for the growth of businesses in the country , she however , points out the importance of structural reform in terms of business development . She says structural reform is central to the notion of dealing with the “ triple challenges ” which are the microcosms of the current anxiety and confusion regarding the land question . In essence , she says sorting out the land question is the way to the freedom of many disadvantaged South Africans .
But there has not been much clarity as to when and how the South African government intends to bring the recommendations of the 25th section of the constitution to life . Since the word of mouth has been going around about land expropriation without compensation and occupying the land , many South Africans have just been occupying land with no clarity as to what the section really means . The different political opinions about land expropriation also mounts a lot of weight on the interpretation of the notion of land expropriation without compensation and land occupation . As a result , South Africans are trapped in the hole of different ideas and opinions in one den .
And according to Mavuso , the indecisiveness and inefficiency in advancing the entails of section 25 continues to be an obstruction to the economic development , transformation , and human development in South Africa . This , she says , is because “ our unique history as a country of dispossession and the triple challenges of poverty , inequality and unemployment require strengthening and spreading of property ownership .”
Amendment of the Constitution
While the constitution provides for the expropriation of land without compensation in particular and / or exceptional circumstances , there is still a growing concern between government and various political parties that the constitution should be amended for the proper advancement of land reform .
But Head of Legal ( policy and research ) at the Free Market Foundation , Martin van Staden believes that the constitution should not be amended or changed .
“ The reason the constitution should not be changed is because it already provides for land reform quite generously , precisely section 25 provides that people who had their land dispossessed should be able to claim that land back ,” process which he believes has been inefficient .
Property rights
According to van Staden , the 18th constitutional amendment bill i . e . the land expropriation without compensation bill , goes against what the South African bill of rights advocates for .
“ The expropriation without compensation bill goes against the founding values of the country , as section one of the constitution says South Africa is committed to the advancement of human rights and freedoms of the people of South Africa . And what government does is undermining and establishing an invested right to compensation ,” He says .
“ Government needs to strengthen property rights in South Africa .”
10 OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2020 SA Real Estate Investor Magazine