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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.

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In his SONA earlier this year, President Cyril Ramaphosa promised that a national Jobs Summit would be held this year. This is now planned for 4 to 5 October. All constituencies represented in Nedlac will be present. In his statement leading up to the conference, the President highlighted the need for “creating decent work and building an inclusive economy”. So far, so good. 

The critical premise for this Jobs Summit is the following. What can a Jobs Summit achieve in a time of deep recession when the economy is in a slump, when there is almost no economic policy certainty and when the cornerstone of the economy, property rights, is perceived to be under threat? Additionally, the presidential drive for international and national investment has been lukewarm at best. This despite Ramaphosa having lined up a dream team in April 2018 to sell SA Inc.

image 20160913 4948 um4tr9In a 30-page leaked document on land and the national question, titled What Then About Land Expropriation Without Compensation, the Thabo Mbeki Foundation (TMF) elucidates both historic context but crucially an analysis of a resolution of the ANC’s 54th National Conference in December 2017 on “land expropriation without compensation”. Without going into the settings of the document about the “glorious National Democratic Revolution” and its “victory of 1994”, the document presents some important perspectives about debates inside the ANC, especially about non-racialism and expropriation of land without compensation (EWC).

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The decision of the Land Claims Court last week whereby Akkerland Boerdery once again took ownership of the two farms it originally consisted of, almost went unnoticed. The ministerial notice of expropriation of 29 March - which gave the owners seven days to vacate and leave the farms - was overturned with costs. Apparently the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform (the infamous Maite Nkoana-Mashabane) admitted her Department made a mistake in issuing the notice of expropriation.

fwdk podium

Your Royal Highnesses, Fellow Nobel Peace Laureates, Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen… 

One of the inescapable implications of globalisation is an enormous increase in the interaction between people from different backgrounds, cultures, languages and religions.  The management of the resulting cultural, language and religious diversity will be one of this century’s greatest challenges.

Throughout the world populations are becoming more cosmopolitan: the world’s 200 countries now include more than 6 000 different cultural communities.  More than 130 countries have cultural minorities comprising more than 10% of their populations. 

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It might be easy to laugh off the comments about State capture in a lecture by former President Jacob Zuma in the Eastern Cape on 12 September as ludicrous, funny and weird - the rantings of a wounded former President. To say that the present crisis is a “politically-decorated expression of state capture” and there is no such thing as “State capture” while the work of the Zondo Commission (into State capture!) - and which he himself appointed - is underway, is nonsensical. At its best, it is a theoretical lesson in semantics, totally devoid of any realism. But that should not worry us. What is Zuma really up to - at worst?

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The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) recently published its 2017/18 Equality Report (the Report), which was submitted to Parliament. This has probably not attracted much attention, due to processes around expropriation without compensation (EWC), the Zondo State Capture Commission of Inquiry and other current news. One exception was the Solidarity Movement. They announced that the Report means that the country's affirmative action legislation is unlawful and does not comply with international requirements. Solidarity is to approach the Courts for a declaratory order to clarify how employers and the Department of Labour should handle the situation until the law (as proposed by the SAHRC) is amended.

Marinus Wiechers

The FW de Klerk Foundation with sadness observes the passing of Professor Marinus Wiechers, a member of the advisory panel of the Foundation’s Centre for Constitutional Rights (CFCR). However, we also rejoice in the life and significant achievements of Marinus Wiechers.

Professor Wiechers was one of South Africa’s first and foremost legal constitutional experts. He played a significant role in the drafting of both the Namibian and the South African constitutions.  He was a consummate academic, with numerous research outputs and books of international quality. As Vice-Chancellor of UNISA, he played an important role in leading the largest South African university into a new era.  

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The last week’s developments on the land and expropriation without compensation (EWC) debate were, to say the least, interesting. Firstly, there was the “toenadering” between the ANC and South African agriculture (Agri SA and Agbiz), and then we heard President Ramaphosa answer questions in Parliament on the subject. In comparison to last week, some farmers and business people are breathing much easier today. From “we will give our people the land back that was stolen from them, without compensation to the thieves” a mere few months ago, to “we will never expropriate productive agricultural land” last week, is quite a jump.  One does imagine that the EFF and the Zumaites in the ANC are slightly worried about this change in message. Was this a turn-around on land and EWC, or merely a spin-around?

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