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The FW de Klerk Foundation writes regular articles on topical issues, supports language and cultural rights and participates in the national debate on racial and cultural issues. The Foundation also promotes communication by holding conferences and workshops.

FARM SPADE opt

A first national dialogue on land reform took place at the end of March in Johannesburg at the request of the ANC members of the Parliamentary Review Committee. This was ostensibly an attempt by the Ramaphosa faction within the ANC to wrest ownership of the process from the EFF (and Zuma supporters), who had of late been setting the pace in the debate.

The pronouncements of ANC officials at the dialogue brought some interesting and important issues to light. A key issue is that of how the officially-documented Nasrec decision on land reform differs from that which was reported in the media after the elective conference.

While expropriation without compensation (EWC) would be one of the key mechanisms for land reform (as part of radical socio-economic transformation), it was emphasised that its implementation should ensure that future investment in the economy is not undermined (my emphasis),and that agricultural production and food security are not harmed. Implementation should also not harm other sectors of the economy (my emphasis). Further, there should be a focus on land owned by the State, especially abandoned, unused and underutilised land (not necessarily agricultural land). The conditions for EWC in the official Nasrec decision are clearly stronger than initially reported.  They are even more powerful when compared with the hastily compiled, sloppily-worded amendment to the EFF parliamentary motion regarding the changes to section 25. This only makes mention of implementation which “increases agricultural production and improves food security”.

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What is ‘expropriation without compensation’ (EWC), where does it come from - and what are its implications? 

 To start with, EWC makes no sense. 

  • Property rights are an indispensable requirement for all successful economies and for all genuine democracies.
  • Despite the ANC’s qualifications of EWC, any dilution of property rights would inevitably have a negative impact on agricultural stability, food security, investment and economic growth.
  • EWC is unnecessary.  Section 25 of the Constitution already makes adequate provision for land reform.  The failure of 90% of the government’s land reform initiatives is, according to the recent Report of the High Level Panel, due to the incapacity of government departments and the corruption of state officials. What reason is there to suppose that land redistribution arising from EWC would fare any better?
  • EWC would cause a financial crisis for banks and the Land Bank, which are owed R170 billion by the agricultural sector.
  • Expropriation is not necessary.  Millions of hectares of government-owned land are available for redistribution and 20 000 farms are up for sale. 
  • The average age of commercial farmers is over 60.  Thousands of farmers are leaving the land because of farm murders, recurrent droughts and uncertainty caused by land reform.  Some of our best young farmers are emigrating to countries where their skills are eagerly sought.  The ANC’s real challenge may in future be to keep farmers - of whatever race - with proven food-producing abilities on the land.  
  • There are other promising approaches to land reform. Organisedagriculture has repeatedly - but without any effective response - made practical proposals for the development of a prosperous black agricultural sector - and land reform schemes in the Western Cape have met with considerable success. 
  • The ANC’s approach to land reform would actually undermine black property rights.  It would not result in greater black land ownership - but in most cases state custodianship. EWC would also undermine the property rights of the 7.5 million black households that own their homes.  The value of these homes (R1.5 trillion plus) is at least five times the total value of all the agricultural land in South Africa. 

SECTION25

The National Forum for Dialogue on Land Reform, held at the at the end of March in Johannesburg, was the first of many public dialogues on the land question, more specifically whether section 25 of the Constitution should be amended to enable expropriation without compensation (EWC). The Dialogue was organised - at the request of the (ANC members of the) Constitutional Review Committee - by the Gordon Institute for Business Science (GIBS), Roelf Meyer’s In Transformation Initiative and the Nelson Mandela University. Most organisations and individuals were invited at very short notice: in the case of the FW de Klerk Foundation, the invite came less than a week before the Dialogue took place. The agenda boasted a notable slate of speakers on the most topical issue confronting South Africa. Despite initial concerns about who was invited and who not, the Foundation  -  whose theme for 2017/18 is Land and Property - took the opportunity attend the two-day meeting. Ivor Jenkins, one of the organisers, confirmed that the event was organised in a very short space of time, and that some organisations had erroneously not been invited in time, but in the end those who really wanted to attend, could do so. 

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I remember Winnie Madikizela-Mandela as a fearless person, with a strong personality, who never hesitated to speak the truth as she saw it. For that I have admiration. There is also the dark side of her reputation and history, which one does not delve into at a time such as this. 

I remember from my personal experience, a common humanity. She for example, attended the funeral of the late Marike, my first wife. My wife Elita and I also went to visit Winnie after her great-grandchild died in the car accident, and she welcomed us so warmly. There was a humanity to her that deserves great appreciation.  

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The FW de Klerk Foundation was shocked to hear the news of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s death. She was one of the dominant figures over the last 20 or 30 years in South Africa and was regarded by the ANC as the Mother of the Nation. Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was larger than life. She was always outspoken, sometimes controversial and will be much missed by her followers and by her friends.

The FW de Klerk Foundation would like to convey their condolences to her family and friends. 

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Everywhere people are on the move.

One of the inescapable implications of globalisation is an enormous increase in the interaction between people from different backgrounds, cultures, languages and religions.   The management of the resulting cultural, language and religious diversity will be one of this century’s greatest challenges.

Throughout the world populations are becoming more cosmopolitan: the world’s 200 countries now include more than 6 000 different cultural communities. More than 130 countries have cultural minorities comprising more than 10% of their populations.

As you in Europe know all too well cultural diversity is being augmented by new waves of migrants seeking economic opportunities and freedom. Everywhere people are on the move - and everywhere they are confronting once homogenous societies with new challenges.

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In a speech on 24 March in Cernobbio, Italy, FW de Klerk said that during the past 24 years South Africa had unfortunately been moving further and further away from the ideal of cultural, religious and language diversity. He called on the international community to do much more to define and protect the rights of cultural, ethnic and religious minorities throughout the world.

De Klerk was addressing the International Forum on Market Leaders and Scenarios for the 21st Century on “The Accommodation of Cultural, Religious and Ethnic Diversity: A Core Challenge for the South Africa, for Europe and for the World.”

He said that South Africa had plenty of experience in managing - and mismanaging - diversity. 

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The FW de Klerk Foundation welcomes today’s announcement by the current (albeit it embattled) head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Adv Shaun Abrahams, to reinstate the charges of corruption, money laundering, racketeering and fraud against former President Jacob Zuma. This brings to an end a decade of litigation over the initial NPA decision in 2009 to withdraw the charges levelled against former President Zuma. Given the uninspiring record of the NPA in the prosecution of politically-connected individuals, there is perhaps need for cautious optimism. Nevertheless, with the overwhelming public interest and the presence of a vociferous and robust civil society and the possibility of private prosecution, it is hoped that the NPA will be true to its constitutional mandate of prosecuting without fear, favour or prejudice.

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