Civil rights organization AfriForum today attends the eleventh session of the UN Forum on Minority Issues in Geneva, Switzerland, to garner support against government’s intended programme of expropriation without compensation. This step is part of the organization’s stepped-up international campaign to mobilize pressure against expropriation without compensation.
According to Alana Bailey, who attends this UN body’s session in her capacity as AfriForum’s Deputy CEO responsible for international liaison, this organization’s legal team is busy with litigation to halt the South African government’s process of amending the Constitution, but international pressure is essential to prevent the process from being carried through in one way or another eventually.
The theme of this year’s session of the Forum on Minority Issues is statelessness. The UN states that it is a human rights issue that affects minorities around the world disproportionally.
Bailey emphasized that AfriForum does not oppose a responsibly executed land reform programme. “However, if the principle of willing seller, willing buyer, is being waived, as is proposed, it can only be detrimental to all residents of the country,” she explained.
“Minorities in South Africa are currently being subjected to scapegoating to conceal the government’s inability to properly implement land reform. An official land reform report, issued under the leadership of former State President Kgalema Motlanthe, acknowledges that neither white landowners, nor the Constitution can be blamed for the state’s failed land reform programme – it has inter alia been caused by corruption and the incompetence of the state. Yet several statements by senior government representatives indicate that the proposed expropriation process will target white landowners. They therefore run the risk of becoming a stateless minority,” Bailey said. “They already face mounting pressure against their constitutionally recognised cultural rights, such as language and education rights.”
According to her, the risk is not limited to this community only. Elsewhere, similar ideology-driven expropriation projects have led to a dramatic growth of the world’s stateless population, including the creation of large numbers of political and economic refugees. They have not been limited to one group only – all citizens of the countries concerned have been affected detrimentally. AfriForum is convinced that all South Africans will face a dark future if this process of expropriation without compensation will be carried out.
“Damage has already been done. International investors are deterred by policy uncertainty re property rights in the country. Property prices are falling and farmers are reluctant to develop farm infrastructure, which has a negative impact on food security. Credit rating agencies such as Moody’s, financial institutions (including the International Monetary Fund), opinion makers and financial experts have all announced concerns, supported by reliable research results. However, it still does not deter the ANC government from its self-destructive intentions. It is the responsibility of civil society to do everything possible to prevent South African minorities from becoming part of the world’s large stateless population,” Bailey said.
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