|The Council of the Cape Law Society (Council) views the current debate around expropriation without compensation (EWC) and land reform in South Africa with keen interest and serious concern, in particular, given the recent media reports, President Trump's tweets and the position adopted by certain advocacy groups, such as Afriforum.
Our interest in the debate is informed by our commitment to the Rule of Law, the supremacy of the Constitution and respect for human rights.
Importantly, we believe that the issue of EWC must be dealt with constructively and with integrity on the basis of facts, rather than conjecture, rumour and speculation.
Council acknowledges the injustices of the past relating to land dispossession and forced removals under colonialism and apartheid, and the need for equitable land redistribution within the ambit of the Constitution.
Council acknowledges the need that land redistribution and reform should be dealt with expeditiously, and that this would assist in the true reconciliation, reconstruction and development of our Nation.
We note further that land is an emotive issue that also impacts on socio-economic rights, and that the current debate around land redistribution, restitution of land rights and tenure security, could be divisive and damaging, if not managed responsibly. Indeed, it has the potential of tearing at the social fabric of our society and impacting adversely on our economy.
Council accordingly urges Government, political parties and their leaders, non- governmental organizations (NGO's), legal practitioners and the general public to conduct themselves in a spirit of true Nation building and reconciliation. Solutions to the iniquities of the past should be sought within the confines of the Rule of Law and our Constitutional values and precepts, not through wanton violence, land grabs and damage to property.
We urge our leaders in Government and the ruling party (ANC) to urgently provide sound leadership and eliminate the policy uncertainty in regard to EWC that currently exists. Council believes this should be used as an opportunity to inspire our Nation with a new vision for our Country aimed at true reconciliation.
Council pledges its support for this endeavour. Our members have a wealth of experience and expertise which could be called upon to assist.