Cope and AfriForum unite against amending constitution for land expropriation
Congress of the People (Cope) and AfriForum are urging South Africans and the international community to call on the government not to amend the constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation.
Speaking at a media briefing on Monday‚ Cope president Mosiuoa Lekota and AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel said the proposed move was without a legal mandate from voters.
“Cope and AfriForum’s decision to defend the constitution‚ property rights and the 1994 settlement came after President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement on July 31 that he and the ANC had decided to amend the property rights clause in Section 25 of the South African Constitution to allow for expropriation without compensation‚” they said in a joint statement.
Lekota said Ramaphosa had violated his oath by deciding to amend the constitution‚ citing Section 83(b) of the Constitution‚ which stipulates that the president must uphold‚ defend and respect the Constitution.
Kriel argued that the protection of property rights was necessary. “The protection of property rights is something that should be of common interest to every South African‚” he said.
He added that the high unemployment rate in Zimbabwe confirmed that everyone suffered - barring a small‚ elite group - when the violation of property rights destroyed a country’s economy.
Cope and AfriForum maintained that apartheid was a serious violation of the dignity and rights of black South Africans. “Our stance is not in defence of apartheid or colonialism‚ but that Afrikaners as a community cannot be collectively blamed or punished. That would be an injustice‚” they said.
While the two parties have vowed to defend the constitution‚ Lekota said land reform was “necessary and welcomed”.
“Land reform should be clear‚ legal and just; not racially divisive - and must lead toward economic development‚ not economic collapse‚” said Lekota.
“The current recession and poor performing agricultural sector should be a big warning sign to all of us‚” he added.