More than 12 000 citizens endorsed a submission by the IRR opposing a policy that would allow land expropriation without compensation. File picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town - Within a span of five days, more than 12 000 South African citizens endorsed a submission by the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) opposing a policy that would allow land expropriation without compensation.

"The IRR’s submission emphasises that: the implications of expropriation without compensation are severe and will stunt South Africa’s economy and undermine its democracy, properties rights are a critical asset for the well-being and advancement of all South Africans, property rights are not the reason why land reform has failed, there is little popular demand from poor people to go back to the land and expropriation without compensation will cause great economic and political damage. There are much better ways, which require urgent attention, to help emerging farmers succeed," the IRR said.

On Friday, experts told Parliament's constitutional review committee that government should not be given unfettered powers to expropriate land without compensation.

The committee is looking into the viability of amending section 25 of the Constitution, which deals with property rights and was holding a colloquium on a parliamentary resolution to expropriate land without compensation as a result of the slow pace of land reform in South Africa.

Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies' Professor Ruth Hall told MPs the current system of land redistribution and restitution was not transparent.

"This is a system set up for corruption and patronage," she said.

Later in June, the IRR will head to various countries calling on the global community to help South Africans "protect property rights from a government that intends to take them away".

The IRR argues that submissions of this kind are critical to public participation and citizens have until the June 15 deadline for public comment set by the government.

IOL and African News Agency (ANA)