A proposed amendment to the Constitution was published earlier today, with comments due by the end of January. This amendment aims to implement a number of changes to property rights and enable expropriation without compensation. The result, if the amendment should enter into force, would be to make expropriation without compensation possible.
The amendment follows short on the heels of arguments, especially prevalent in the ANC, that expropriation without compensation is already possible in terms of existing constitutional provisions, but frustrated by unclear wording. Attempts to expropriate without compensation under the current text of the Constitution would, in the absence of this amendment, likely have been frustrated.
“The chief danger this amendment poses is that it aims to make a constitutional right subject to legislation which can be amended at will by government. The result is that the National Assembly would be able to reduce constitutional protection further and further with nothing more than a simple majority. Considering recent trends in Constitutional interpretation, it is clear that the new version of Section 25 will undermine property rights,” according to Daniel du Plessis, legal analyst for Sakeliga.
Piet le Roux, CEO of Sakeliga, notes: “Sakeliga will make use of all legal and other remedies to oppose this amendment. We reject any change to the Constitution, whether by textual amendment or by interpretive drift, which undermines the constitutional order. Through mobilising business and in joint effort with other organisations of civil society we will steadfastly oppose the undermining of property rights and – where necessary – reverse it.
Comments may be submitted until the end of January.