Alternatives to expropriating land without compensation

Jeremy Cronin suggests that instead of changing the Constitution, government should speed up the release of title deeds and land redistribution.
Deputy Public Works Minister Jeremy Cronin. Picture: Supplied

Government should not amend the Constitution to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation. Instead, it should accelerate the release of title deeds and land redistribution to salvage land reform.

This is the view of Deputy Public Works Minister Jeremy Cronin, who has described SA’s pace and quality of land reform since 1994 as “pathetic”.

“There has been weak policy, corruption within the state, and lack of will when it comes to land reform,” Cronin said at the South African Property Owners Association annual convention on Wednesday.

SA is weighing up the merits of amending Section 25 of the Constitution – also known as the property clause – to expropriate land without compensation.

After MPs voted in favour of a motion to begin a process to amend Section 25, the matter was sent to the Constitutional Review Committee, which will review whether it is necessary to amend the Constitution.

Public submissions to the committee closed on June 15. The committee has to report back to Parliament on its findings by September 28.

“The property clause is not an obstacle for effective land reform and land restitution,” said Cronin. “It should not be amended as it already provides effective mechanisms to achieve land reform.”

Cronin’s views contradict those held by some ANC and EFF members, who have called for the state to go to extreme lengths in expropriating land without compensation.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has thrown his weight behind amending Section 25, saying expropriation without compensation should be implemented in a way that increases agricultural production, improves food security and doesn’t harm the economy.

“At face value, this is a contradiction,” said Cronin. “On the one hand, we are rallying the masses to expropriate land but we don’t want to threaten food security.”

Instead of amending the Constitution, the focus should be on increasing security of tenure; in other words, the government must fast-track the release of title deeds, he said. “Millions of South Africans have insecure tenure. Something like 60% of South Africans do not have title deeds.”

Although government has provided 3.8 million housing opportunities since 1994 through the Reconstruction and Development Programme – known as the RDP programme but now referred to as Breaking New Ground – many people don’t have title deeds for the homes they live in. The human settlements department had set a three-year target of fast-tracking the release of more than 800 000 title deeds by 2019.

Cronin said another way to avert changing Section 25 of the Constitution would be focusing on the process of land redistribution. The idea is that government would expropriate unutilised land or unproductive land (land not marked for any speculative development plans) for the purposes of land redistribution.

“The expropriated land would be used to develop appropriate housing settlements and for the transformation of SA’s spatial planning,” he said.

The expropriated land does not necessarily have to be owned by the private sector. It could already be owned by the state, which is a substantial landowner.

The problem is that the state doesn’t know how much land it owns, and previous land audit figures are not reliable. “We don’t trust any data on land ownership,” said Cronin. “We need to have a proper understanding of who owns what.”

He added that the state owns 30 000 land parcels on its immovable-assets register, and this could be earmarked for redistribution.

Another big problem is that government’s process for settling land claims – for families or people dispossessed of land due to the 1913 Natives Land Act – under the restitution programme since 1994 has been “hugely challenging and problematic.”

Land claims takes forever to settle, he said. “According to the high-level panel, at the current pace of the processing land claims, it will take another 33 or 43 years to settle old claims.”



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A Communist who believes that all property should be owned by the State is advocating the acceleration of the release of title deeds to individuals? I am confused but I think so is he. Blind fools leading their blind followers around in the dark.

I think communists have gotten to quite like the free-market capitalist standard of living we have today 😛

It’s simple – Politicians want votes.

The problem is when they get it. Then even a goat herder can become a President.

Government should take note.

Why must you opt for alternatives than radically taking the land back?

Protection of narrow interests of minority should really come to an end in South Africa…

Do you even really know where you come from? What have you REALLY lost that you want to take back? Can you even point to the plot of land that your ancestor had? And did he own it or did it belong to the chief? And did the chief own it or did he just occupy it until he decided to move to another spot with better resources? And did the chief not chase other tribes from that spot or feared being chased away by other stronger tribes. Why did the tribes often have weapons and armys if they did not steel land from one-another or to prevent their land from getting stolen by other tribes? Shame on you.

You see; This land belongs to The One who made it and He can let anyone stay here from time to time. It is our job (not our ancestors’) to make a positive impact to the world that we found ourselves in.

Because today stealing is a crime.

If you take you pay. Honest citizens do this everyday; criminals steal.

You will have a really hard time proving that current owners of the land stole it.

The self-pitying socialists with the slave mentality may opt to nationalize all land, but a basic law of nature states that the strongest and most adaptable will survive and flourish under all circumstances. Those individuals with the best mental capacity, who also happen to be the owners of property, will also be the greatest beneficiaries of expropriation without compensation.

Increased government borrowing implies that owners of capital will earn more, and beneficiaries of social grants will earn less. Those who receive the expropriated land will be much poorer than what they are now, as the depreciating currency destroys the purchasing power of the few rands they do own.

The owners of capital will get wealthier in rand terms as the rand depreciates. Their overseas investments or local assets act as protection against inflation and currency depreciation.

These results are clear for everyone to see. After 24 years of socialist ANC rule South Africa is the most unequal society on earth. Socialism increases the levels of poverty for those who are poor, while increasing the levels of wealth of those who are wealthy.

Be careful what you wish for my brother.

Do you really believe that the South African society was more equal prior to 1994?
While we may not agree with the current government policies, a socialist element (or lets rather say a welfare portion) is certainly required in South Africa.
The real question question that needs answering is, if expropriation without compensation is not the answer, then what is the answer to shrinking the inequality gap?

The irony is, anything “radical” will not be in the interest of the poor…

If all land that is ‘owned’ by tribal leaders gets legally transferred to those who stay there… Now that might be a step towards economic freedom. But hey, that would impact voting support from the tribal leaders – who’s ‘subjects’ still don’t understand that their votes are secret. But stealing land from Whites – now that’s a popular concept that will get many votes… That is why it MUST be without compensation (even if there is money and many willing sellers) to show voters how Whites are being oppressed. Now why would that be a popular concept in a non-racist society? How will that build long-term racist-free economic growth for all South Africans?

for once Commie Cronin has something valid to , however with his trackrecord i would be careful of supporting him because he like the rest of the politburo have the habit of” no no that’s not what i meant to say “,when threatened with losing his job and sipping the gravy

Cronin is a truly a pathetic creature. The sooner we’re done with people like him, the better for South African society. What value has he ever added to anything in his life. Very little, I’d wager.

“This is the view of Deputy Public Works Minister Jeremy Cronin, who has described SA’s pace and quality of land reform since 1994 as “pathetic”.

“There has been weak policy, corruption within the state, and lack of will when it comes to land reform,” Cronin said at the South African Property Owners Association annual convention on Wednesday”

The logic of this clown leaves me dumbfounded! What he acknowledges is that the triparty alliance has destroyed the economy yet he still clings to the misguided belief that it can run the country?

This is precisely why foreign capital goes elsewhere.

For once he made sense. Leave all private land. Doesn’t matter if its used or not. someone paid for it. If you take it, its the end of any future fixed investments.

this pathetic debate will carry on as a vote catching exercise till the elections. Then it will be on the backburner till another round of elections comes up.

This is such a complicated exercise that no one has the solution for or the plans to do it.

End of comments.



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