Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Theresa May supports land seizures in South Africa

At least, that is what one South African newspaper reads into Mrs May's speech on arrival in South Africa. It reports that: 

The UK supports President Cyril Ramaphosa's approach to land reform and believes it could potentially unlock further investment opportunities in Africa.

In her first visit to the continent as UK Prime Minister, Theresa May pledged to become the G7's biggest investor in Africa by 2022, using the UK's development budget to not only relieve poverty, but to create a sustainable investment environment for British businesses.

May was addressing guests of the British High Commission in Cape Town on Tuesday, before meeting Ramaphosa at Tuynhuys.

"The UK has for some time now supported land reform that is legal and transparent and generated through a democratic process. I discussed it with President Ramaphosa during his visit to Britain earlier this year and will discuss it with him again later today," she said.

"I welcome the comments that President Ramaphosa has already made, bearing in mind the economic and social aspects of it. I think he's made some comments that it won't be a smash and grab approach. I think there's an opportunity to unlock investment."

Meanwhile, the South African parliament may well be moving towards the Zimbabwe-style seizure of land without compensation desired by the President. The Expropriation Bill approved earlier this year, which provided for "just and equitable" transfers and for land to be used for the public good, has been withdrawn. MoneyWeb South Africa reports that a constitutional review committee had been

set up after MPs voted in favour of a motion in February to begin a process to amend section 25 of the Constitution – known as the property clause. It has to report back to Parliament on its findings by September 28. President Cyril Ramaphosa recently stepped up SA’s land reform efforts by saying that the ANC had decided to change the Constitution to push ahead with plans to expropriate land without compensation. The public works committee said the published findings of the constitutional review committee might result in a “new parliamentary process including legislative processes and new directions” before the end of 2018.

In other words, the findings of the constitutional review committee might require the Minister of Public Works Thulas Nxesi to redraft a new Expropriation Bill. This will bring the Expropriation Bill in line with government’s plan to expropriate land without compensation.

Elsewhere, the liberal Democratic Alliance is under threat from a cynical political shift as the socialist EFF, supposedly wedded to the fight against corruption, has teamed up with its former enemy, the ANC. The target is the reforming administration of the council which includes the nation's capital, Pretoria. Much depends on a confidence vote tomorrow.

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