The FW de Klerk Foundation writes regular articles on topical issues, supports language and cultural rights and participates in the national debate on racial and cultural issues. The Foundation also promotes communication by holding conferences and workshops.
REFLECTIONS ON FW DE KLERK FOUNDATION CONFERENCE ON PROPERTY RIGHTS AND LAND REFORM HELD ON 4 JULY 2018 IN JOHANNESBURG
The FW de Klerk Foundation, in line with its annual theme of Land Reform and Property Rights, held a conference in Johannesburg yesterday, with the overall theme of “Property Rights for All South Africans - and the Role that Land Reform can Play in Expanding Property Rights”.
As the theme indicates, the Foundation believes that the two aspects of section 25 of the Constitution must both receive urgent attention. On the one hand therefore, the importance of property rights in all working democracies and economies was emphasised in the first half of the conference. The second half of the conference dealt with the question of how property rights could be extended to all South Africans through effective and accelerated land reform, in the areas of agricultural land, urban land and communal or traditional land.
SPEECH AT THE FW DE KLERK FOUNDATION CONFERENCE ON PROPERTY RIGHTS AND LAND REFORM
Thank you Mr Suhr, for your introduction and the perspective of KAS on our important conference. Former President De Klerk has set the scene further by his astute analysis and comments about the possible change of section 25 of the Constitution.
My task is to take that further and proverbially lay the table for our conference, its speakers and its audience. I will do this by, firstly, reiterating the position of the Foundation on property rights and land reform, and secondly, by pointing to three conditions for constitutional land reform and extending property rights to all South Africans.
SPEECH: THE CENTRALITY OF PROPERTY RIGHTS FOR THE ECONOMY, FOR AGRICULTURE AND FOR THE NATIONAL ACCORD
We have convened this Conference at a critical time in the history of our young democracy.
The ANC and Parliament have adopted resolutions calling for expropriation without compensation (EWC). By so doing they have posed a fundamental threat to investment, economic growth, agriculture, food security and to the national accord on which our new nonracial democracy was founded.
The ANC has, it is true, qualified its support for EWC with the caveat that it should not “undermine future investment in the economy, or damage agricultural production and food security…or cause harm to other sectors of the economy”.
WELCOMING REMARKS: HENNING SUHR – CONFERENCE ON LAND AN PROPERTY RIGHTS
Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to welcome you on behalf of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. The topic of this conference - the debate on land and property rights - is heavily discussed in media, politics and society - basically everywhere in the country. When the De Klerk Foundation approached us to support this event, we did not have to think twice due to actuality and relevance of the issue.
Land reform - and by that I mean the debate on restitution, redistribution and tenure reform as well as on the use of land - touches so many key policy areas, for instance the agriculture sector, housing, urban and rural development and so on. It is also relevant for constitutional questions or issues of social justice. And finally it is especially related to the past of South Africa and the overcoming of the wounds which were inflicted. Many people are somehow affected by land reform and therefore everyone has his or her own perspective on the matter.
STATEMENT ON MY VOTE COUNTS CONSTITUTIONAL COURT RULING
The FW de Klerk Foundation welcomes the Constitutional Court’s decision in My Vote Counts NPC v Minister of Justice and Correctional Services and Another. The decision, which confirmed an earlier Western Cape High Court ruling, makes it apparent that the unchecked funding of political parties or individuals running for political office, has no place within a constitutional democracy founded on values of transparency and accountability.
The decision enhances the voting public’s right to make informed political choices through requiring that the information pertaining to the private funding of political parties and independent candidates must be recorded, preserved and made reasonably accessible. The provisions of the Promotion of Access to Information Act 2 of 2000 (PAIA), which excluded political parties and independent candidates from its purview, were also declared invalid. The order of invalidity was however suspended for 18 months to allow Parliament to remedy PAIA to bring the Act in line with the decision. This means that there is a high likelihood that political parties in the 2019 national and provincial elections will be governed by the amended PAIA. South Africa’s democracy will be all the richer for it.
STATEMENT ON SUBMISSION TO CONSTITUTIONAL REVIEW COMMITTEE ON POSSIBLE AMENDMENT TO SECTION 25 OF CONSTITUTION TO ALLOW EXPROPRIATION WITHOUT COMPENSATION
The FW de Klerk Foundation, like thousands of other organisations and individual South Africans, submitted its views on the amendment to section 25 of the Constitution to allow expropriation without compensation (EWC) to the parliamentary Constitutional Review Committee. The Foundation regards this question as being of central importance to the future of South Africa - not only with regard to the essential requirement for a successful process of land reform, but also for the future of property rights and hence the future prospects for the economy, as well as for the future of race relations in South Africa.
Together with numerous respected jurists, including the late Arthur Chaskalson CJ, as well as the High Level Panel appointed by Parliament, the Foundation believes that it is not necessary to change section 25 of the Constitution to achieve land reform and extend property rights to all South Africans.
SUBMISSION ON THE REVIEW OF SECTION 25 OF THE CONSTITUTION
- The FW de Klerk Foundation was established in 1999 to protect and promote the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, as the most important legacy of its founder, former President FW de Klerk.
- On 15 March 2018, the Foundation issued a statement setting out its position on expropriation without compensation (EWC) and the amendment of section 25 of the Constitution. For ease of reference, we attach it as Annexure A.
- The Foundation welcomes this opportunity to comment on the motion adopted by the National Assembly on 27 February 2018 relating to land reform.
- The Constitutional Review Committee was tasked with reviewing “Section 25 of the Constitution and other sections where necessary to make it possible for the State to expropriate land in the public interest without compensation.”
SPEECH: MANAGING TRANSFORMATION - THE KEY TO SUCCESS IN THE 21ST CENTURY
It is a great pleasure for me to be able to address this conference on the topic of transformation management.
You executives in the energy sector have to wrestle constantly with the challenges presented by the rapidly changing environment in which you operate.
I was also in the transformation business - but in my case it was a country that we had to transform. I would like to share some of the lessons we learned during the historic change process that we South Africans experienced between 1990 and 1996.
This is because our ability to manage change is the key to success today for individuals, for companies and for countries. It will also determine the success of everyone at this conference.