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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.


During the current Constitutional Review Committee hearings one frequently heard: “We want the land back that the whites took from us”. But who took the land and who owns it now, is not so clear. It has often been stated that without a proper and credible land audit, we cannot have a sober and balanced debate on land, and “that” land cannot be subject to land reform or redistribution.

The two land audits done by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR), raise more questions than provide answers. Criticism has already been raised many times. The 2013 audit was intended to identify State land. The 2017 audit was intended to take stock of private land ownership in terms of race, gender and nationality. One private audit, done by Agri SA, was intended to quantify the ownership and commercial transfer of agricultural land.


On 4 July 2018 FW de Klerk spoke at a conference that his Foundation had convened in Johannesburg to discuss property rights for all South Africans and the role that land reform can play in expanding property rights.

De Klerk said that the ANC’s decision to proceed with expropriation without compensation (EWC) posed a fundamental threat to investment, economic growth, agriculture, food security and to the national accord on which our new nonracial democracy was founded.

It had been shown time and again that property rights were essential for economic growth and social development.  “The top 20% of countries that best respect property rights have average per capita incomes of more than $50 000 - compared with less than $7 500 for the bottom 20%”.


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.

ELOFF 4 JULY1. Introduction
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.

FWDK 4 JULY 2018

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”.


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.

ConCourt interior

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. 

parliament sml

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. 

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