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By Marizka Coetzer

Journalist


Land expropriation: EFF might cause ‘trouble’, expert warns

Dr Johan Burger of the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) said unlike Zimbabwe, the government has taken a firm stand against illegal land occupations.


The Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) angry rejection of the ANC’s proposed amendment to the constitution to enable land expropriation, accompanied by threats by leader Julius Malema might mean “here comes trouble”, says a security analyst.

Land expropriation without compensation

Malema might ‘intensify the issue’

Dr Johan Burger of the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) said, however, it was hard to predict what the repercussions would be of the failure of the amendment in parliament this week.

“I see that Julius Malema threatened to intensify the issue. He did not say in what way he was going to do it so we would just have to wait and see,” Burger said.

Burger said, unlike Zimbabwe, the government has taken a firm stand against illegal land occupations.

“This means should it happen they will take action and the police are under an obligation to enforce the laws of the country,” he explained.

‘Here comes trouble’

Burger said it would be interesting to see what the EFF and other organisations, like Black First Land First (BLF), were going to do now. He said this was not the end of it.

“If the EFF said they were going to intensify issues, it means here comes trouble. We just do not yet know what the nature of the trouble will be,” he said.

Ernst van Zyl, campaign officer for strategy and content at AfriForum, said the failure of a deeply immoral Bill, that would have allowed state-sanctioned theft and human rights violations, was a major victory for South Africans.

“Expropriation without compensation is an inhumane policy motivated by a combination of corrupt greed and resentment,” Van Zyl said.

ANC divided over land expropriation

Political analyst Ralph Mathekga said we should not forget the ANC was internally divided about this.

“They have two factions that were trying to dictate how this thing ought to look.

“How do you push against an opposition party if you cannot among yourself be convinced that this thing is what you want to do?” he added.

Mathekga said it was a political matter, and the ANC was not doing a good political job.

“In the ANC, some want the radical vision and some want the current vision. Some don’t want any change against the constitution because the current system provides for what is being pressed for in this bill,” he said.

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‘State taking control of land’

Mathekga said it was a very interesting indication of what is to come in the future.

“If South Africa’s politics were this fragmented and the ANC is struggling with key policy issues, they are going to have a problem in other legislations too,” he said.

Political analyst Piet Croucamp said the application to an amendment to Section 25 of the constitution to allow for expropriation without compensation was controversial because there was a consensus idea of custodianship.

“It is about the state taking control of land as the true ownership of land. And the assumption is that it is not made clear which parts of the land the state will be able to take possession of,” he said.

Matter of survival for ANC

Croucamp said the EFF’s point was that all land should be owned by the state, and he suspected they would submit another motion.

“The state has neglected to do land reform and now they are going to look for a hammer to hit it through,” Croucamp said.

He said the next two-and-a-half years leading up to the national election was a matter of political survival for the ANC.

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