South Africa: Sneaky Constitutional Amendment Guts Property Rights

opinion

The draft of the Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill, amending the property rights clause (Section 25) of the Bill of Rights, means the Constitution will no longer protect property rights. It permits expropriation without compensation at the whim of members of Parliament.

The draft amendment to the property rights clause of the Bill of Rights, sneakily published just as the schools closed for the holiday season in the hope that nobody would pay attention, is bad news for property owners.

(It is also bad news for grammar mavens, who would surely share my objection to the horrendously dissonant title "Constitutional Eighteenth Amendment Bill", preferring instead the "Eighteenth Constitutional Amendment Bill".)

It permits the court, "where land and improvements thereon are expropriated for the purposes of land reform, [to] determine that the amount of compensation is nil."

The amendment further requires national legislation to "set out specific circumstances where a court may determine that the amount of compensation is nil".

On one hand, the draft explicitly limits the possibility of "nil compensation" to land and improvements thereon when they are to be expropriated for the purposes of land reform. The property rights section also explicitly says property is not limited to land,...

See What Everyone is Watching

More From: Daily Maverick

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 600 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.