16 May 2018

South Africa: Expropriation Without Compensation - Non-Participatory Participation


Given that Section 25 - the so-called property clause - was probably the most hotly contested and meticulously negotiated issue during the constitutional negotiations, a move against it would conceivably symbolise the beginning of the dismantling of the constitutional order. Certainly, some of the rhetoric in recent years suggests that there is a market for doing so.

The debate around the introduction of a policy of expropriation without compensation represents a profoundly important moment for South Africa. Not only is this a measure with enormous (and probably enormously damaging) ramifications for the country's economy, but it stands to alter the nature of the country's politics. As others have pointed out, should it lead to a constitutional amendment, it would be the most fundamental and far-reaching such change since the constitution was adopted.

In this respect, the approaching participation process is important. The public is invited to submit written inputs by mid-June, while public hearings will take place between late June and early August. Public participation and consultation are required by South Africa's Constitution, and for good reason: it is increasingly common cause in democracies that direct citizen involvement enhances the quality of governance and secures the buy-in...

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