SPEECH: THE EVOLUTION OF PROPERTY RIGHTS SINCE 1994

fwdk-conference-31 janIt is with regret that I must inform you that Minister Gugile Nkwinti will not be able to join us today. He told us that he would very much have liked to have been able to address us but, despite his best efforts, was unable to change pre-existing commitments.

However, he has assured us that he would like to establish a renewed dialogue in relation to land reform and has asked us to  coordinate an alternative date as soon as possible. 

We welcome this because we believe that it is essential that there should be an open exchange of views on the crucial questions of land reform and property rights. It is essential that there should be no misunderstanding on property rights because of their central importance for future investment and economic growth on the one hand, and intergroup relations on the other.

The problem is that we are receiving contradictory messages from Government.

Two years ago - at this same venue - I made a speech in which I warned that South Africa was at a crossroads. I said that we could

“… either take the road to economic growth and social justice that is indicated by the National Planning Commission - or we can take the “second phase” road toward the goals of the National Democratic Revolution.”

I said that the National Development Plan presented a vision of a future South Africa that we could all share. It included:

• Constitutional democracy;
• Unity in diversity;
• High quality education;
• Health and social services providing security to all those in need;
• Sustainable and equitable economic growth;
• Fair employment for all;
• An environment in which business can invest, profit and contribute to national goals;
• An effective state and public service;
• Mutual respect and human solidarity; and
• A South Africa that contributes to Africa and to the world.

I agreed specifically with the NPC’s analysis that the two main priorities were education and unemployment.

I said that the other road that we could take led in the direction of the ‘second phase’ of the ANC’s National Democratic Revolution. I pointed out that the SACP was one of the main driving forces behind this radical new direction - but that it did not view the NDR as the final destination of the revolutionary process. On the contrary, it viewed it as the beginning of a new phase when the SACP - as the self-proclaimed vanguard of the working class - would take over leadership of the revolution which would culminate in the establishment of a communist state.

I regret to inform you that this question has not yet been resolved. 

On the one hand, the ANC decided at its Mangaung Conference at the end of 2012 to adopt the NDP as its economic programme. 

On the other hand, in statement after statement, ANC leaders have expressed their intention of proceeding with the radical implementation of the second phase of the National Democratic Revolution. Coupled with this there has been mounting pressure on the carefully balanced agreements on the future of property rights that were negotiated and included in section 25 of the 1996 Constitution.