The Democratic Alliance On Land

The Democratic Alliance (DA) vehemently disagrees with the expropriation of land without compensation policy. Speaking at Constitutional Hill on Monday, the party leader Mmusi Maimane said the party would do everything in its power to oppose the amendment of the Constitution to allow for expropriation without compensation. Maimane was commenting on the parliamentary resolution of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), that parliament’s constitutional review committee will explore, debate, and finally introduce a constitutional amendment to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation in the public interest.

Here are five things Maimane said about the DA’s position on land.

1. The DA supports land reform but not land expropriation without compensation and proposes to make South Africans real landowners by protecting individual’s rights

“The Democratic Alliance supports land restitution, and we support land redistribution. Any suggestion that our firm opposition to expropriation without compensation is equivalent to opposing land reform is simply nonsense.

The difference of approach is stark: Our approach seeks to make people real homeowners, and protects their right to build assets and wealth over time and hand these over to their children. This is the only way to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty that Apartheid has left us. Our approach recognises that property rights, like individual rights, are indivisible. Each person’s individual rights are best protected when everyone’s rights are protected.”

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2. The EFF – and ANC – approach to the land question is stoking racial tension

“Our opponents’ approach is one which has yielded only poverty and misery for the poor wherever it has been tried anywhere in the world. It is a guarantee of chaos and economic disaster. It deliberately seeks to stoke racial tension, and by definition relies on force. It is the sound-bite, simplistic solution of the violent demagogue, and should be rejected by all South Africans of every background.

We reject the hate-filled racist undertones employed by the EFF and the ANC in this debate, which seeks to divide the country according to race for narrow political ends, and which seeks to de-legitimise those who disagree.”

3. The ANC’s position on land reform is unclear, the DA disagrees with the EFF’s position

“The EFF’s model calls for the state to be the ‘custodian’ of all land, effectively the abolition of private property.

The Constitution also makes it clear that property does not only refer to land. The model pursued by the EFF would strip all property owners of their property – white and black South Africans alike would lose everything. Homeowners would be stripped of their homes, business owners of their businesses, innovators of their intellectual property, and more.

We do not believe there is any ‘nice’ way to seize property.

We do not believe that any government should be given this power. And once the government has this power, it will be very difficult ever to take it away. Even if some people think the Ramaphosa government will handle this power responsibly, the Constitution should protect citizens against all possible future governments.

We will not wait for the ANC to attempt to clarify how they plan for this seizure to happen. It should never happen. That is the point.”

4. The DA will use every tool to oppose a constitutional amendment to make expropriation without compensation a reality, and it has even started a petition.

“We will oppose this amendment with every tool at our disposal. We will mobilise public support behind us, and we call on all South Africans to join in our effort to defeat this Constitutional amendment – starting with signing this petition to protect our Constitution. Every person who owns property, and every person who aspires to own property, should join our effort to defeat this EFF/ANC plan.”

5. Should the DA become national government, its plan to achieve meaningful redress is as follows:

  • New recipients of state subsidised housing will receive full title, and past recipients of RDP homes will given full title;
  • Make it cheaper for first time buyers to purchase homes through lowering of transfer costs;
  • Distribute the thousands of government owned farms and fallow land, instead of treating emerging farmers as permanent tenants;
    Give residents of tribal land security of tenure that is recorded and legally enforceable;
  • Allocate adequate budgets to settle all remaining land restitution claims, and for land reform purposes, on the basis of the Constitutional guidelines for compensation; and
  • Anyone who wants to farm will receive the support they need to be successful, through the transference of skills and by providing access to the resources and markets they need to sell their goods.

The DA is able to guarantee all this without amending the Constitution.

You can read Maimane’s full speech here.

Featured image via Flickr