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  • Writer's pictureMBF


Of course it's nice to get presents. But everything in life cannot be a gift...

In the manner in which the Expropriation Bill would come into effect, it would be a serious blow to the protection of property rights and the constitutionality of the South African order.

Parliament's support for the Expropriation Bill highlights the key role of businesses and civil society in the independent maintenance of constitutionalism* by opposing state expropriation of property.

Chief among several flaws of the Expropriation Bill is that it seeks to legalise state expropriation of any property (not just land) without compensation, or at any amount below market value it deems appropriate. In this, the Expropriation Bill is a renewed and unconstitutional attempt to legalise state confiscation of property, despite the failure of the Amendment Bill which was attempted in Parliament in 2021, to change section 25 of the Constitution.

As limited as Government action in this regard may be initially, the state's track record shows that violations of property rights will escalate unless it is steadfastly and successfully opposed by sections of society outside of Government.

The concept of property, like the rule of law, forms part of the fundamental essence of constitutionalism itself. Without respect for property, a multitude of constitutional provisions and checks on power become meaningless, and business and job creation are seriously threatened.

However, the mere passing of the Expropriation Bill and its approval by the President of South Africa would not be the end of the story. If this should happen, it is the duty of businesses and other members of civil society to prevent the unsustainable and unacceptable parts of the Bill from coming into force and, to the extent that this cannot be completely prevented, to prevent its application, to frustrate and limit it to the greatest possible degree.

It is not enough to merely hope that such legislation will be overturned by political change. Successful opposition by businesses and civil society groups will require an extensive litigation strategy as well as sustained pressure, obstruction and intervention outside of litigation, until the unacceptable parts of the bill become sterile in practice.

We encourage responsible businesses and members of the public to oppose the Expropriation Bill. An important way of doing this is by supporting Sakeliga-affiliated organisations such as Mafube Business Forum (MBF). Sakeliga stand ready to litigate the matter and establish constructive relations with various other interest groups.

*Following Louis Henkin, Ramcharan believes that constitutionalism is expressed in the legitimacy of a constitution, constitutional review ("judicial review"), authentic democracy, and an accountable ("accountable") government that respects and ensures individual human rights and which pursues the satisfaction of basic human needs.


If you are not already a member of MBF, now more than ever it will be important to join. Please visit our MBF offices at Kerkstraat 18A Frankfort or email or WhatsApp message/call 079 145 4295 visit our website and follow us on Facebook.

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