Press Statement: The Helen Suzman Foundation submits its comments to Parliament on the proposed changes to Section 25 of the Constitution

The Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) has submitted its comments to Parliament on the Eighteenth Amendment Bill to the Constitution. This Bill contains proposed changes to Section 25 of the Constitution, relating to expropriation without compensation.

In summary, the HSF’s comments are:

  • Section 25 of the Constitution already makes provision for expropriation without compensation.  This is confirmed by the preamble to the Bill, which states that what is implicit in Section 25 must now be made explicit; and

  • the obstacle to land reform is not the Constitution, but rather a lack of political will to implement an effective land reform policy.  The Government’s land reform efforts have been beset with corruption, inefficiency and incompetence.  It has been a failure.  In the words of a recent Constitutional Court judgment on the activities of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, “… it has displayed a patent incapacity or inability to get the job done.”

In targeting Section 25 of the Constitution, Government is trying to use the Constitution as a convenient excuse for its lack of progress on land reform.  The drive to adopt this constitutional amendment is not the result of legal considerations.  It is the obvious result of political pressure and the perceived need by Government to show that something tangible is actually being done.

Against the above background, the HSF submits that the Bill should be withdrawn.

To see the HSF’s full submission to Parliament, click here.

Anton van Dalsen
011 482 2872