AfriForum stands by list of properties to be 'expropriated'
Civil rights organisation AfriForum remains adamant that a list of properties earmarked for “expropriation” that it published is legitimate.
“What we have done to protect our source is to change the format. We have much more information that [we] did not publish‚ because we also wanted to protect the property owners‚” AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel said on Tuesday during a media conference at their offices in Centurion.
He said they had no doubt that the list‚ from a “reputable” source‚ being circulated within the department of Rural Development and Land Reform‚ was real.
AfriForum deputy CEO Ernst Roets said there could be more than one list circulating in the department which would explain the discrepancy between the 195 properties on their list and the 139 properties mentioned by government.
“We typed everything exactly as it is over into an Excel spreadsheet where it was in a PDF document initially… There was a lot more information about the farms and we decided to take that out‚ because we didn’t want to publish that. There was no change in terms of the content of the list.”
Kriel said about 600 people had contacted AfriForum‚ including some property owners on the list.
Business organisation Sakeliga CEO Piet le Roux believes that South Africa is heading on a “road to ruin”.
“What the ANC intends to do with these test cases is in effect to hollow out the Constitution... By going through test cases and trying to hollow out the Constitution and get to a point where it is acceptable to pay arbitrary values for property instead of market value.”
Kriel said South Africa risked going down the same road as Venezuela if it violated property rights.
“Property rights are not only important to owners of property. It affects everybody in the country.”
The Institute for Race Relations (IRR) echoed this view on Tuesday‚ saying in a statement that their analysts had “every reason to believe” that AfriForum’s list was legitimate.
“The IRR has long cautioned that undermining property rights will have catastrophic economic and social ramifications. We predict that the policy of expropriation without compensation will trigger accelerated currency devaluation‚ stall foreign and domestic investment flows‚ drive the economic growth rate downwards – and possibly into recession by 2019 – and increase unemployment and poverty rates‚” the IRR said.
“Taken to its extremes‚ the consequences could be as severe as those in Venezuela and Zimbabwe.”
The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform said on Monday that AfriForum was “highly irresponsible‚ unfair and unprocedural” to publish the list.
“Minister Nkoana-Mashabane would therefore like to set the record straight that there is no list of farms for expropriation of land without compensation‚” the department said.
“We therefore put it on record that the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform has not embarked on any process of expropriating land without compensation.”