Can we believe expropriation assurances?
Ever since the ANC put expropriation without compensation firmly on to the political agenda, it has given assurances that this will be done without harming agriculture or food production. This is consistent with the move of the national democratic revolution into its second phase, says the Institute of Race Relations’ John Kane-Berman.
He says Parliament’s resolution setting up a committee to look into amending section 25 to get rid of the compensation requirement, is further proof of this. In an analysis on the Politicsweb site, he argues that this does not mean that legislation will be speedily enacted. ‘The ANC is too incompetent for that. It is also smart enough to sometimes beat a tactical retreat when it runs into opposition.’
As its ‘strategy and tactics’ documents state, ‘property relations are at the core of all social systems’. Implementation of redistribution requires ‘dexterity in tact and firmness in principle’.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has said white dispossession should take place incrementally rather than all at once so as to avoid provoking too much resistance. Kane Berman asks: ‘What of assurances that expropriation will be carried out in such a way as to avoid damage to agriculture?’ He responds that we should remember that likely damage to the economy and to state institutions has seldom acted as a brake upon the implementation of ANC objectives. ‘Moreover, once an expropriation-without-compensation amendment to the Constitution has been enacted, whatever assurances might have been given to minimise resistance to it are likely to prove worthless.’
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