As the Institute of Race Relations has pointed out, we can’t trust the ANC on the Expropriation Bill. The cancer in the centre of the bill is that municipalities and other government bodies will be enabled to take transfer of land before they pay for it. We have been fixated on expropriation for nil consideration. We have been misled. That is not the danger.

The danger is that bankrupt municipalities will be allowed — if the bill becomes law — to take transfer and occupation of land (rural and urban) before they pay for it, even if the price is  “fair”. As many municipalities cannot even pay Eskom, what chance is there that they would pay landowners? Nil. Of course, the owner could, at great expense, go to court, but you cannot get money out of a stone.

So there is really no need to amend the constitution. Just enact the bill and every bankrupt and corrupt arm of local government can take ownership of property to its heart’s content and then say “there is no money”. Local politicians will become very rich. All they have to do is threaten expropriation, unless — you guessed it — the owner “helps” them with university fees and so on. One may as well legalise extortion.

If this is the direction the governing party is going, one may as well give up on ever solving poverty and unemployment.

Willem Cronje,Via e-mail

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