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Assessing and promoting civil and minority rights in South Africa.

[Source: Politicsweb by John Kane-Berman.]

“Land panel affirms property rights,” declared Business Day last week on its story about the Final Report of the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture. This positive spin was echoed by other newspapers, among them the London Financial Times. Is their interpretation justified?

The panel’s report, made public last week, does indeed argue that expropriation without compensation (EWC) should take place only in “exceptional circumstances”. It lists ten instances where “nil” compensation would be justified. These include abandoned land, land obtained through criminal activity, and inner-city buildings with absentee landlords.

But the panel also states that “nil” compensation is not limited to this list. Elsewhere in the report, it states that owners of properties needed for “redistribution” may offer their land as donations or enter into negotiations with the state, “failing which the state may proceed to expropriate”. Each municipality should identify which land should be redistributed.

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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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