Take Pompeo's warning about land expropriation seriously, says IRR
DURBAN - Classical liberal think tank, the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) said on Wednesday that comments made by United States secretary of state Mike Pompeo about South Africa's plans to forge ahead with expropriation without compensation (EWC) were "an important warning".
Speaking in Addis Abiba on Wednesday morning, Pompeo said: "Even now, even as we stand here today, South Africa is debating an amendment to permit the expropriation of private property without compensation. That would be disastrous for that economy, and most importantly for the South African people."
The IRR said Pompeo's comments were "yet another warning against the perilous course the government is steering".
"It is not altogether unusual for officials representing foreign countries to express such robust sentiments. Pompeo’s remarks do, however, mirror concerns expressed by others – such as the Netherlands’ foreign minister Stef Blok, who warned that undermining ‘property rights and the rule of law’ would deter ‘existing and potential investors alike," said IRR's Hermann Pretorius.
In the case of the United States, there was a real concern of losing market access, he added.
Pretorius said the IRR had heard similar sentiments in private from diplomats and businesspeople from across the world who were all "favourably disposed towards South Africa as a country" and recognised its potential.
"EWC, which would degrade the protection of property and (in view of the apparent intention of the ruling party to limit the role of the courts in expropriation) quite possibly meddle with the rule of law, will constrain if not destroy South Africa’s economic prospects. That this policy course may render South Africa ‘univestable’ is one that we have heard repeatedly."
The sentiment was shared by many businesspeople, said Pretorius.
"The IRR has consistently urged the South African government to change course on EWC. It does nothing to address the failings of land reform, and will condemn the country to more of the lacklustre growth and truncated development that we have seen in recent years – if not something altogether worse."
Pretorius urged citizens to endorse its submission to parliament on the draft amendement Bill. The revised submission period for comments is February 29.
African News Agency