Cape Party Takes Land Issue to Human Rights Commission

Press release by the Cape Party

The Cape Party has lodged a complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to have the parliament resolution on land expropriation declared a violation of basic human rights.

While South Africa is signatory to numerous international treaties which safeguard property rights, parliament hopes to amend the constitution to give the government powers to confiscate land without compensating the current owners.

Standing in front of the SAHRC offices in Cape Town, leader of the Cape Party, Jack Miller said: “There is another word for state expropriation without compensation, it is quite simply theft in the most criminal sense.”

The Cape Party believes that the resolution is in contravention of international law and cited such examples as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 17 (2): “No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his or her property.”

However, some in the ANC feel that Section 25 of the South African Constitution that deals with land expropriation has not been properly tested in law.

Ronald Lamola, of the ANC National Executive Committee said “The ANC must pass the Expropriation Bill now and insert a clause that says ‘without compensation’.”

Lamola also went on to say, “We must look into the possibility of the President taking the bill to the courts to test out its constitutionality.”

However, Miller rejected the ANC’s claims, calling the government’s proposal a “crime against humanity”, and an attempt to “enrich the political elite.”

Advocate Lloyd Lotz of the SAHRC acknowledged receipt of the submission, saying “this matter is of particular interest in the country,” and that “we will be deliberating internally on our position, based on our mandate.”

Lotz added that in spite of the heated political debate, the Cape Party submission had been the only official complaint over land expropriation that the SAHRC had received to date.

The deadline for the parliamentary committee to announce its decision to amend the Constitution will be this August 30th.

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