Initiatives > Legal successes > Destructive political rhetoric fostering a climate for illegal landgrabs – Sakeliga

Sakeliga notes various violent protests which have erupted across South Africa in the current election season. We are particularly concerned about protest action along the N2 in Somerset West, which has seen attempted land grabs, violent protests and destructions of property.

According to Gerhard van Onselen, senior analyst at Sakeliga, a climate for illegal land grabs is spurred on in part by a destructive political rhetoric on land ownership, which some political parties have engaged in.

“Regardless of what the root causes of these protests are, a destructive disregard of property rights is encouraged through irresponsible and short-sighted political statements. Political parties that degrade property rights for a short-term electoral gain are gambling with the future,” says Van Onselen.

“Moreover, the current erosion of security of property rights in law and political discourse is deeply concerning. This erosion deters private investors and will hamper South Africa’s economic development.”

Calls for expropriation without compensation is doing a great deal of damage to the South African economy. One way in which this happens is by encouraging illegal land occupation. Illegal land occupation is not limited to agricultural land but often also occurs in urban, including commercial, areas.

Sakeliga expect that land grabs will accelerate in 2019, unless businesspeople and communities have a hand in stopping them. To help to protect property and property rights, Sakeliga introduced the Landgrab911-platform which provides its members with step-by-step instructions on preventing land grabs, access to affordable legal assistance and important records held by the Chief Surveyor General.

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