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Assessing and promoting civil and minority rights in South Africa.

[Source: Politicsweb by Anthea Jeffery.]

Effective land reform is still required, but the Draft Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill of 2019 (the Draft Bill) will needlessly undermine the property rights of all South Africans: from the 1 million whites with home ownership to the 8.5 million black, ‘coloured’ and Indian families who own houses too. It will also hurt the 17.5m black people with customary plots, and the thousands of black South Africans who have bought more than 6 million hectares of urban and rural land since 1991.

The Draft Bill has two key clauses. The first allows the courts to decide that ‘nil’ compensation may be paid for land and ‘the improvements thereon’ if these are expropriated for land reform purposes. Improvements include all fixed structures: from houses and office blocks to shopping centres, factories, hotels, and hospitals. The ANC has thus reneged on its earlier promises that expropriation without compensation (EWC) would be confined to land alone.

The second key clause gives Parliament the power to adopt, by a simple (51%) majority, any number of new statutes setting out ‘the specific circumstances’ where the courts may decide that ‘nil’ compensation should be paid.

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South Africa at a Glance
58 780 000 (mid 2019 estimate)
4.1% y/y in March 2020 (CPI) & +4.5 y/y in February 2020 (PPI)
-1.4% q/q (4th quarter of 2019)
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