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Agri SA verwerp oorhaastige openbare beraadslaging oor artikel 25-wysiging | Overhasty public consultation on section 25 amendment slammed

See English below:

5 Desember 2019

 Agri SA verwerp oorhaastige openbare beraadslaging oor artikel 25-wysiging

Agri SA is teleurgesteld in die besluit van die ad hoc-komitee, wat getaak is met die wysiging van artikel 25 van die Grondwet, om nie voorsiening te maak vir behoorlike konsultasie en openbare deelname nie. Die komitee het die konsepwetsontwerp vir die wysiging van die eiendomsklousule op 3 Desember 2019 bespreek. Agri SA het gevra dat die publisering van die wetsontwerp uitgestel word tot ná die Desember-feestyd. Die versoek is egter nie toegestaan nie.

Agri SA beskou die komitee se weiering van ‘n redelike versoek, om voorsiening te maak vir behoorlike openbare deelname aan ‘n uiters omstrede en potensieel verreikende stap soos die wysiging van ‘n internasionaal erkende fundamentele mensereg, as problematies.

“Agri SA het deurentyd standpunt ingeneem dat dit geensins nodig is om die eiendomsklousule te wysig nie. Dit sal ‘n reuse impak op die ekonomie en werkskepping hê, wat voedselonsekerheid tot gevolg kan hê,” sê Willem de Chavonnes, voorsitter van Agri SA se Sentrum van Uitnemendheid: Grond. “Die probleem is nie artikel 25 van die Grondwet nie, soos reeds bevestig in verskeie hofsake en meer onlangs deur die Konstitusionele Hof in die Mwelase-uitspraak.”

Die Konstitusionele Hof se uitspraak lees soos volg: “Dit (die stadige vordering met grondhervorming) is nie die Grondwet of die howe of die wette van die land se skuld nie. Dit is die institusionele onvermoë van die Departement om te doen wat wetgewing en die Grondwet vereis wat sentraal tot hierdie kolossale krisis is.”

Daar was tot dusver geen behoorlike oorweging van die impak van hierdie wysiging op Suid-Afrika se verpligtinge ingevolge die internasionale reg en die moontlike ekonomiese impak oor die algemeen nie. De Chavonnes het gewaarsku dat Suid-Afrika ‘n finansiële dilemma (krisis?) in die gesig staar.

“Die ekonomie is in ‘n tegniese resessie met hemelhoë werkloosheidsvlakke en ‘n gevaarlike skuld tot -BBP verhouding en ‘n geldeenheid wat negatief gereageer het op nuus dat die land se ekonomie met 0,6% in die derde kwartaal gekrimp het. Ons is bekommerd dat internasionale beleggingsooreenkomste nadelig beïnvloed kan word waar vergoeding nie op billike markwaarde gegrond is nie. Die banksektor se blootstelling is ongeveer R180 miljard en lenings is gegrond op die onderliggende sekuriteit van eiendom.”

Agri SA en sy affiliasies is betrokke by grootskaalse transformasieprojekte en het al bewys gelewer van hul verbintenis tot regstelling van die skewe grondbesitpatroon in Suid-Afrika. Agri SA oorweeg alle beskikbare regsopsies om te verseker dat die eiendomsregte van alle Suid-Afrikaners beskerm word.

 

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5 December 2019

Agri SA is disappointed in the decision by die Ad Hoc Committee, tasked with the amendment of Section 25 of the Constitution, to not allow for proper consultation and public participation. The Ad Hoc Committee discussed the draft Bill to amend the property clause on 3 December 2019. Agri SA requested that the publication of the amendment Bill be postponed to after the December festive period. The request was, however, disregarded.

Agri SA deems it problematic that the Committee has rejected a fair request to allow for proper public participation over such a controversial and potentially far-reaching step as amending an internationally recognised fundamental human right.

“Agri SA has maintained throughout that there is no need to amend the property clause. It will have a massive impact on the economy and on job creation that will eventually lead to food insecurity,”  said Willem de Chavonnes, Chairman of Agri SA’s Centre of Excellence for Land. “The problem is not section 25 of the Constitution and this has been confirmed in various court cases and most recently by the Constitutional Court in the Mwelase judgement.”

The Constitutional court held that: “It is not the Constitution, nor the courts, nor the laws of the country that are at fault. It is the institutional incapacity of the Department to do what the statute and the Constitution require of it that lies at the heart of this colossal crisis”.

There has not been proper engagement with the impact that this amendment will have on South Africa’s international obligations, of international law and the possible economic impact in general. De Chavonnes has cautioned that South Africa is staring down a fiscal cliff.

“The economy is in a technical recession with spiralling unemployment levels and a dangerous debt GDP ratio and the currency reacting negatively to the news that the country’s economy has shrunk by 0,6 % in the third quarter. We are concerned that international investment treaties will be in jeopardy where payment is not based on fair market value. The banking sector’s exposure is approximately R180 billion to the sector and lending are based on the underlying security of property.”

Agri SA and its affiliates are engaged in large scale transformation projects and has shown their commitment to address the skewed land ownership pattern in South Africa. Agri SA is considering all available legal options to ensure the protection of property rights for all South Africans.