10 Signs of an Approaching Dictatorship in South Africa

“Dictatorship” is a very strong word. It is usually used to indicate the absence of a constitution and the presence of a ruler or rulers who do as they please, but this is usually an oversimplification.

South Africa, for instance, does have a constitution, but when a constitution is ignored or easily modified, the State in which it operates ceases to be constitutionalist. China, North Korea, and Zimbabwe are good examples of dictatorships with constitutions, but which are not constitutionalist. South Africa is fast approaching this point, with the recent announcement that an amendment to remove the compensation clause from the property rights provision of the Constitution will be considered.

Here is a list of ten items I believe are indicative of South Africa’s approaching dictatorship.

This article will not be an in-depth analysis of each item.

In order of concern, with 1 being the most concerning and 10 the least:

1. Expropriation without compensation

No democracy has ever existed without property rights. Property rights are entwined with constitutionalism, the Rule of Law, and with human rights.

If property can simply be taken without due process, the most important component of which is compensation, no opponent of government is safe. The destruction of property rights is also usually a first step toward the destruction of intermediary organizations — i.e. those entities that form the buffer between the individual and the State, like companies and civil society — and is thus a crucial part of centralization.

Expropriation without compensation is currently being considered by Parliament’s constitutional review committee, which will report back with its recommendations in August. If the Constitution does end up being amended, it will be the first amendment to the Bill of Rights since the Constitution came into being, and therefore sets a worrying precedent for the other rights.

2. Internet censorship

The Films and Publications Amendment Bill proposes that all content distributors (like the Rational Standard, but also YouTube and Facebook) submit their content for approval with the Films and Publications Board before posting it. Thankfully, thus, the Bill seems completely unworkable. This does, however, open the door to arbitrariness and selective-enforcement.

The infamous Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill is also apparently going to be tabled in Parliament again soon. RS writers have written widely on the problems with this bill. It represents, along with expropriation without compensation, the greatest threat to continued democracy at the southern tip of Africa.

3. Threats to disarm law-abiding South Africans

The new Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, recently saidthat “We’ll have to work very hard to ensure South Africa is disarmed”, making snide remarks directed at American gun culture in the same breath.

South Africa regularly tops the world in rates of violent crime, especially murder and rape. Combine this with our lackluster police service that often takes hours to respond to emergency calls, and you have a pressing need for civilians to be able to own and liberally use firearms to defend themselves. Government, evidently, has other plans.

No doubt, a disarmed civilian population will also make any kind of future resistance to tyrannical government far more difficult.

Read Gideon Joubert’s analysis of this at Paratus.

4. Raids on journalists

Investigative journalist and author of The President’s Keepers, Jacques Pauw, had his home raided on 28 February. The book is known for exposing various facets of former President Jacob Zuma and his corruption network.

This raid happened after Cyril Ramaphosa became the chief executive of South Africa’s law enforcement apparatus, so this was not a final strike by Zuma.

5. Draconian new traffic law

The AARTO Amendment Bill will strengthen the presumption of guilt for those who have violated traffic “law” (no such thing exists). This means that if you decide not to challenge a traffic charge in their administrative ‘tribunal’, you will be presumed guilty.

The Bill also ousts the jurisdiction of the ordinary courts in the first instance and replaces them with an administrative agency. This means motorists will need to spend time and money struggling to get through this bureaucracy before they can finally appeal to a real court.

6. Raising the drinking age from 18 to 21

By the stroke of a pen, government will criminalize millions of South Africans who are old enough to marry, contract, join the military, and crucially, vote. Whatever you think about the apparent necessity for a law of this kind, there can be no debate about its distinctively authoritarian and arbitrary character.

7. Unemployment-inducing minimum wage

The minimum wage is only one part of government’s agenda to have complete control over the voluntary agreements between the public and intermediary organizations like companies.

It has been stated repeatedly that the National Minimum Wage will cause more unemployment — and consequently more dependency on government — and economic principles back this fact up: If you do not provide R3,500’s worth of a service to me, then I won’t hire you at all or keep you as an employee, because it would be illegal for me to pay you less. It really is as simple as that. Government has ignored this reality, despite protestations.

8. Threats to ban the old flag

Government is not calling for the old flag to be banned, yet. For now, it is only the Nelson Mandela Foundationand the usual crowd of academics and journalists. But this does play right into the State’s agenda of censorship and control.

You can read more about the potential banning of the old flag here.

9. Carbon tax

Why put a new tax in a list of indications of impending dictatorship?

South Africans are overtaxed. We have been saying this for years. Section 1 of the Constitution requires that government be open and responsive. As with the minimum wage, it has ignored this completely. It is pressing ahead with new taxes regardless of the public will.

10. Public acquiescence

Ramaphoria is, clearly, not over. Most of the items listed above have gone unnoticed to the general public. Everyone is still head-over-heels in love with our well-spoken new President.

This is the least concerning item not because it is not extremely important, but because the other nine items are more pressing and urgent and should be dealt with first. If we are able to diffuse the imminence of dictatorship, this item will move progressively further up the list.

It remains as true as ever that the price for freedom is eternal vigilance. I have repeated this several times in my articles and will continue to do so. Never let your guard down. Never trust someone who has authority over you.

Source: https://rationalstandard.com/10-signs-of-an-approaching-dictatorship-in-south-africa/

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Listeriosis outbreak and shortage of health workers

South Africa has just one environmental health practitioner per 30‚000 people‚ three times fewer than the ratio recommended by the World Health Organisation.

In the wake of the world’s worst ever listeriosis outbreak – in which at least 190 have died and close to 1‚000 infected – questions are now being asked about whether South Africa has enough people checking the health and safety standards for food production. It seems that‚ at least in terms of the number of environmental health practitioners‚ the country is missing the mark.

The World Health Organisation recommends a ratio of one environmental health practitioner for every 10‚000 citizens – but South African Institute of Environmental Health president Dr Selva Mudaly said the country was currently closer to one for every 30‚000 South Africans.

“We have not met that requirement because of finances and other requirements besides environmental health. There’s water‚ there’s sanitation. So a municipality has many challenges‚” he said.

Mudaly said South Africa needs a better plan for food safety.

“We are not proactive. That’s the problem. We don’t pre-plan‚” Mudaly said. “Maybe the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) needs more laboratories to deal with this kind of thing.”

Another solution was the formation of a central agency that monitors food safety from “farm to fork”‚ said Gareth Lloyd-Jones‚ managing director of food production hygiene at Ecowize. This‚ he said‚ was the long-term fix to avoiding another listeriosis-type outbreak.

“As a result of this dysfunctional system‚ the industry has been largely self-regulated‚” Lloyd-Jones said. “The standard is effectively driven from the retailer‚ who then monitors the primary production facilities‚ who monitor their supply chain‚ and so on.”

Lloyd-Jones said‚ however‚ the current listeriosis outbreak and product recall was “extraordinary”.

“No matter what country you are‚ this was going to be a challenge‚” he said.

Tiger Brands CEO Lawrence MacDougall explained on Monday how the company’s subsidiary Enterprise was embroiled in a listeriosis outbreak that has left 180 people dead and infected 948.

MacDougall said the government had confirmed that listeriosis monocytogenes strain ST 6 was linked to the outbreak‚ but did not link it to the deaths. He said Enterprise was still conducting its own tests.

“There is no direct link with the deaths to our products that we are aware of at this point. Nothing‚” MacDougall said. “At this stage‚ we are acting on information we got from the government.”

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced on Sunday that the source of the listeria outbreak was the Enterprise food production facility in Polokwane‚ Limpopo. Enterprise’s factory in Germiston was also affected.

The National Consumer Commission (NCC) ordered Enterprise on Sunday to remove three products from store shelves. MacDougall said the company had decided to voluntarily recall all products produced in its facilities in Polokwane and Germiston.

Restaurant Association of South Africa (Rasa) CEO Wendy Alberts said they have approved suppliers on their database. They pass on notices from these suppliers to members to keep them up to date. Rasa members include independent restaurants‚ fast food outlets‚ coffee shops‚ hospital canteens and mobile restaurants.

Alberts said their members increased their health and hygiene standards after Motsoaledi’s announcement on Sunday.

Meanwhile‚ human rights lawyer Richard Spoor said family members of those who died or those who became ill from listeriosis could bring a class action lawsuit against Tiger Brands.

Spoor said only a handful of representatives were needed to start a class action lawsuit. The Consumer Protection Act also allows for a class action lawsuit. Other affected parties could join the class action suit later.

“You don’t necessarily have to wait… You can get the ball rolling right away.”

Spoor said ready-to-eat food producers have to meet higher standards.

“If you are selling ready-to-eat food the rules are a lot stricter for contamination‚” Spoor said. “Especially with something like meat where there is a real risk of contamination.”

Source: https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2018-03-07-south-africa-doesnt-meet-world-health-standards-for-food-inspectors/

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Reconciliation is over: expropriation without compensation

SOUTH Africa’s parliament has voted in favour of a motion that will begin the process of amending the country’s Constitution to allow for the confiscation of white-owned land without compensation.

The motion was brought by Julius Malema, leader of the radical Marxist opposition party the Economic Freedom Fighters, and passed overwhelmingly by 241 votes to 83 against. The only parties who did not support the motion were the Democratic Alliance, Freedom Front Plus, Cope and the African Christian Democratic Party.

It was amended but supported by the ruling African National Congress and new president Cyril Ramaphosa, who made land expropriation a key pillar of his policy platform after taking over from ousted PM Jacob Zuma earlier this month.

“The time for reconciliation is over. Now is the time for justice,” Mr Malema was quoted by News24 as telling parliament. “We must ensure that we restore the dignity of our people without compensating the criminals who stole our land.”

According to Bloomberg, a 2017 government audit found white people owned 72 per cent of farmland in South Africa.

ANC deputy chief whip Dorries Eunice Dlakude said the party “recognises that the current policy instruments, including the willing-buyer willing-seller policy and other provisions of Section 25 of the Constitution may be hindering effective land reform”.

ANC rural affairs minister Gugile Nkwinti added, “The ANC unequivocally supports the principle of land expropriation without compensation. There is no doubt about it, land shall be expropriated without compensation.”

Thandeka Mbabama from the Democatic Alliance party, which opposed the motion, said there was a need to right the wrongs of the past but expropriation “cannot be part of the solution”. “By arguing for expropriation without compensation, the ANC has been gifted the perfect scapegoat to explain away its own failure,” she said in a statement.

“Making this argument lets the ANC off the hook on the real impediments — corruption, bad policy and chronic underfunding. Expropriation without compensation would severely undermine the national economy, only hurting poor black people even further.”

Pieter Groenewald, leader of the Freedom Front Plus party representing the white Afrikaner minority, asked what would happen to the land once it was expropriated. “If you continue on this course, I can assure you there is going to be unforeseen consequences that is not in the interest of South Africa,” he said.

Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota said there was a “danger that those who think equality in our lifetime equates that we must dominate whites”, News24 reported.

Mr Malema has been leading calls for land confiscation, forcing the ANC to follow suit out of fear of losing the support of poorer black voters. In 2016, he told supporters he was “not calling for the slaughter of white people‚ at least for now”.

Civil rights groups have accused the EFF and ANC of inciting an ongoing spate of attacks on white farmers characterised by extreme brutality, rape and torture — last year, more than 70 people were killed in more than 340 such attacks.

Ernst Roets, deputy chief executive of civil rights group Afriforum, said the parliamentary motion was a violation of the 1994 agreement in which the ANC promised minority interests would be protected post-apartheid.

“This motion is based on a distorted image of the past,” Mr Roets said in a statement. “The term ‘expropriation without compensation’ is a form of semantic fraud. It is nothing more than racist theft.”

He earlier hit out at “simply deceitful” claims that “white people who own land necessarily obtained it by means of oppression, violence or forced removals”.

“The EFF’s view on redistribution is merely a racist process to chase white people off their land and establish it within the state,” he said. “This is not only deceiving, but also a duplication of the economic policies that the world’s worst economies put in place.”

Afriforum said it would take its fight to the United Nations if necessary. The matter has been referred to the parliament’s Constitutional Review Committee, which must report back by August 30.

Earlier this month, Louis Meintjes, president of the farmers’ group the Transvaal Agricultural Union, warned the country risked going down the same route as Zimbabwe, which plunged into famine after a government-sanctioned purge of white farmers in the 2000s.

“Where in the world has expropriation without compensation coupled to the waste of agricultural land, resulted in foreign confidence, economic growth and increased food production?” Mr Meintjes said.

“If Mr Ramaphosa is set on creating an untenable situation, he should actively create circumstances which will promote famine. His promise to expropriate land without compensation, sows the seed for revolution. Expropriation without compensation is theft”.


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Deadly food decease culprit identified

Johannesburg – Retailers across the country are running against the clock to remove ready-to-eat food products feared to be fertile carriers of the deadly listeria.

This as panic over the killer disease grips the country following the revelation that products from an Enterprise Foods production facility in Polokwane, Limpopo, are the source of the listeriosis outbreak, which has resulted in 180 deaths.

Even the Department of Basic Education has stepped in to issue urgent alerts to schools and parents over the purchase of foods such as russians, polony, sausages, viennas and other cold meats largely consumed by pupils as part of their packed lunches.

Health experts have also warned against the consumption of bunny chows and the popular township kota snacks.

“We will collaborate with the Department of Health to ensure that we spread the message highlighting issues regarding listeriosis and what parents can do to safeguard their children against it,” spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said on Sunday.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) and Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi said the number of laboratory-confirmed cases attributed to the foodborne disease now stood at 948 cases, with a fatality rate of 27%.

According to Motsoaledi, the cases were confirmed following the government’s efforts to trace the source of the disease outbreak, which is the biggest in the country’s history.

He said a team from the NICD recently interviewed 109 people as a means of establishing what they ate just a month before falling ill.

“Eighty-five percent of the people reported consuming ready-to-eat processed meats, of which polony was the most common, followed by viennas, sausages and other cold meats,” Motsoaledi pointed out.

David North, group executive of strategy and corporate affairs at Pick n Pay stores, said that following Motsoaledi’s announcement, the group had undertaken to immediately withdraw all products from the manufacturing sites identified.

“Customers who bought any Enterprise product (incl Bokkie, Renown, Lifestyle, Mieliekip), or any Rainbow ready-to-eat products eg. Polony or Russians can return the product for a full refund,” said Pick n Pay in a tweet on Sunday.

A statement from the Shoprite Group said: “Customers are invited to return any Enterprise Foods and Rainbow Chicken processed meat – cold meats like polonies, Viennas, Russians etc, products they have at home – for a full refund.”

Woolworths, in a statement, said it had a team of food scientists and technologists who proactively manage food safety to prevent microbial contamination of food.

"As an additional precautionary measure, we are recalling a limited number of viennas and cold meats."

Customers were urged to return several ready-to-eat meat products to their local store for a full refund.

Food Lover’s Market said in a tweet that it will be removing products that may be linked to the listeriosis outbreak from their stores.

"Customers who bought any Enterprise ready to eat products (Bokkie, Renown, Lifestyle & Mieliekip) and Rainbow ready-to-eat products can return the product for a full refund."
The Consumer Goods Council of South Africa said 12000 of its members had opened the doors to their facilities for health practitioners to carry out tests where necessary.

“Our concern is always the health of consumers, and our members will not compromise on this non-negotiable requirement,” it said.

Listeria is a form of bacteria found in the environment and commonly occurs in soil, water, vegetation and in the faeces of some animals. It can contaminate a variety of food types, including meat and dairy products.

While Listeria cannot be spread from one person to another, pregnant women and infants, as well as people with weakened immune systems, are at a higher risk of contracting it.

Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, nausea and diarrhoea.

Motsoaledi highlighted that in January, nine children under the age of five were rushed to Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital due to febrile gastroenteritis, an intestinal infection.

On the same day, he said, environmental practitioners visited the crèche where these children were and took samples of two polony brands which were later traced back to Enterprise and Rainbow Chicken Limited.

Motsoaledi said samples had also been taken from an Enterprise facility in Germiston, adding that more investigations would be conducted, including research of samples linked to a Rainbow Chicken facility in Wolwehoek near Sasolburg in the Free State.

In a bid to curb further spread of the disease, the Department of Health said the National Consumer Commission had issued implicated manufacturers with safety recall notices.

Motsoaledi urged the public to avoid all processed meat products that are sold as ready-to-eat, even from other brands.

“While we know that polony is definitely implicated, there is a risk of cross-contamination of other ready-to-eat processed meat products.

“This is because listeria on the exterior casing (packaging) can be transferred to other products it comes into contact with,” he said.

By 4pm on Sunday, supermarkets such as Shoprite in Sophiatown had already pulled products off their shelves. At a Spar in Newtown and a Pick n Pay in Witpoortjie, products belonging to the two brands implicated were still on the shelves.

Spar employee Vish Naidu said he was awaiting instructions from their head office on what action to take.

A consumer, Thabelo Nemulodi, said she had bought russians and polony for her children’s lunch box on Friday.

“What can I do? I’ll have to throw them away. We’re scared. We don’t know what to eat anymore,” she said.

Siyabulela Komane, who was just about to purchase some polony, said he wasn’t aware of the recall.

“I’ll call them at home right now and tell them to throw the polony away,” he said.

In a statement Tiger Brands chief executive Lawrence McDowell said: “Food safety remains the highest priority at Tiger Brands, where we always place consumers’ health and safety above all else. Therefore, we can confirm that we have, with immediate effect, undertaken a full national recall of the affected Enterprise ready-to-eat meat products.”

Asked what action would be taken against the companies implicated or if fines would be imposed, Department of Health spokesperson Popo Maja said this was the National Consumer Commission’s prerogative.

Source: https://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/gauteng/listeriosis-panic-over-killer-disease-grips-sa-13597333?utm_source=news_newsletters&utm_medium=email

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IRR on property expropriation without compensation


Property rights: Boere need to make a plan – IRR

Frans Cronje |
12 October 2015
Frans Cronje says farmers need to play a much more decisive role in setting the terms of reference for the debate around land and agriculture

How to safeguard the future of commercial farming in South Africa

This policy brief was produced by the IRR at the request of the Transvaal Agricultural Union – South Africa and many commercial farmers within the country


South Africa’s 35 000 remaining commercial farmers (down from 60 000 in 1996) are vital to the food security of 54m South Africans (up from 40m in 1995). They also contribute 3.9% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), employ more than 650 000 mostly unskilled people, and help boost exports and hold down the current account deficit. They generally have good relationships with their farm workers and pay not less than the statutory minimum wage. Many have also done all they can to mentor new black farmers and generally help the process of land reform. Commercial farmers underpin the rural economy and the prosperity of small rural towns. This means that increased investment in commercial agriculture is vital to the rural economy and the prosperity of all rural people.

Despite this, South Africa’s commercial farmers are under attack. They already face a raft of damaging policies that threaten the success of commercial farming. Now many of these policies are being ratcheted up, putting the future of farming still further at risk. This document explains why this is happening and what the farming community must do to safeguard its future.

The failure of the Government’s land reform efforts

Many farmers have long accepted the need for land reform to overcome the ongoing effects of past racial laws prohibiting the purchase of agricultural land by black people and the forced removal of more than 1.1 million Africans from “white” rural areas in the 1960s and 1970s. However, land reform to date has largely been a dismal failure.

Since 1994, some R69bn in real terms has been spent by the State on buying some 7 million hectares of land for redistribution or restitution, against a target of some 26 million hectares. The amount already spent is very close to the net value of all agricultural land in the country (R71bn), yet 19 million hectares still remain to be transferred. In addition, between 70% and 90% of all land reform projects have failed, beneficiaries being unable to produce any marketable surplus. Productive land has thus been taken out of use without any resulting benefit to anyone in jobs, income, or agricultural production. In addition, land under claim commonly remains “frozen” for years while claims are investigated, settlements reached, and prices agreed to by the State are finally (generally also after much delay) paid out to farmers.

Overall, land reform has been so badly implemented that, where it has been applied, it has probably done more damage to commercial farming than the Anglo Boer War. Yet land reform is also a sham in that:

– it exaggerates the extent of land hunger (in fact, only some 8% of South Africans want land to farm);

– it prevents black South Africans from gaining individual ownership of farming land (almost all transferred land goes to the State, the chiefs, or community trusts) and does not in fact aim at creating a new class of black commercial farmers; while

– it ignores the most important land reform requirement, this being the need to give individual ownership to some 18m people with insecure customary land-use rights in the former homelands.

Despite these many problems, land reform is now being stepped up through legislation recently adopted or now in the policy pipeline.

Laws and policies that threaten the future of commercial farming

Much of the threat to commercial farming comes from a spate of new laws and policies, six of which are outlined below.

1. Land Restitution Amendment Act of 2014 (effective July 2014)

The land claims process has been re-opened, with a new five-year window running from July 2014 to June 2019, during which some 379 000 new claims are expected to be lodged. These claims will be in addition to the 80 000 or so lodged in the first window period (to December 1998), some 13 000 of which still remain to be resolved.

The 379 000 new claims could cost R179bn to settle, but the annual restitution budget is less than R3bn a year. In addition, both the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (the land department) and the Land Claims Commission lack the administrative capacity to handle all the new claims, which are likely to drag on for decades and make for great uncertainty as to the title of commercial farmers to all or part of their land.

2.Property Valuation Act of 2014 (effective August 2015)

A state official, the valuer general, has been empowered to value all property (including both land and any accompanying movables) that has been identified for land reform purposes. Where farms are under claim, this statute will help the Government expropriate them as working entities and for less than market value.

3. Regulation of Land Holdings Bill (mooted in the Green Paper on Land Reform in 2011, and still to be approved by the Cabinet for tabling in Parliament).

This bill will introduce ceilings on farm sizes, which are likely to be set (in the beginning, at least) at 1 000 hectares for a small farm, 2 500 hectares for a medium one, and 5 000 hectares for a large farm. In exceptional circumstances (for example, to cater for timber or game farms), a maximum of 12 000 hectares may be allowed. In many instances, these ceilings will erode the economies of scale necessary for successful commercial farming. In addition, once the principle has been accepted that the Government can decide farm sizes, the ceilings are likely to be reduced. Where a given farm exceeds the relevant ceiling, any excess land is likely to be expropriated by the Government.

4. 50:50 proposal (under investigation through a few pilot studies)

The land department has proposed that 50% of all commercial farms be transferred to long-serving farm workers. Compensation for this 50% will not go to the farmer but will be paid into a trust jointly owned by both the farmer and his new owner-workers.

5. Agri Land Bill of 2014 (public comment obtained, bill still to be approved by Cabinet for tabling in Parliament)

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (DAFF) has put forward the Preservation and Development of Agricultural Land Framework Bill of 2014 (the Agri Land Bill), under which all agricultural land will vest in DAFF as “custodian” for the people of South Africa. This wording could perhaps result (as under the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act of 2002, which has the same formula regarding the State’s custodianship of mineral resources) in the effective expropriation of farming land without compensation.

In addition, the Agri Land Bill will require all high potential cropping land to be used solely for production for human consumption. All farmers will need state approval (through extraordinarily costly and complex new bureaucratic procedures) for any rezoning or sub-division, under rules so broad they could require state approval for a shift from one kind of agricultural use to another. Restrictions on the use of pesticides and genetically modified (GM) crops could also be introduced.

Under the Agri Land Bill, the “right to farm” will also be made subject to ministerial regulation. Under this provision, farmers could in time be required to obtain farming leases or licences from the State, which could be made dependent on them fulfilling various (and shifting) black economic empowerment (BEE) requirements. (If this transpires, it will give effect to a demand by the Economic Freedom Fighters or EFF for the State to take custodianship of all agricultural land and then lease it out to farmers.)

6. Expropriation Bill of 2015 (currently before Parliament)

This bill will allow all national and provincial departments, all municipalities, and hundreds of other organs of state to expropriate land, movables, and other assets either “for public purposes” (such as the building of a road) or in “the public interest” (which the Constitution defines as “including the nation’s commitment to land reform”).

On its current wording, the Bill would work as follows. The land department could decide it wants to expropriate a number of farms, which it will then lease to black farmers under the State Land Lease and Disposal Policy (SLLDP). The department must start by negotiating with the farm owners for the purchase of their land at, say, 70% of market value, as recommended by the valuer general. If negotiations fail, the land department may issue a notice of its intention to expropriate, under which it may investigate the value of the land. It must also invite objections to its proposed expropriations, but can reject these without giving reasons.

Once these initial procedures are complete, the land department may serve notices of expropriation on all the affected farm owners. Under such a notice, ownership will pass automatically to the land department on the “date of expropriation” set out in the document, which could be the day after its service. (The only relevant time limit in the Bill is that ownership cannot pass the day before the notice was served.) The right to possess the property could pass to the land department on the following day. The land department may again offer 70% of market value as compensation. If a farm owner does not sue for more within 60 days of being invited to do so, he will be deemed to have accepted this amount. If he does litigate and a court awards him the same amount or less, he must pay the land department’s legal costs, which will be deducted from the compensation owing to him – leaving him only such balance as remains.

The Bill’s present wording also seeks to prevent the courts from ruling on the validity of the expropriation: on whether, for example, it is objectively either rational or in the public interest. It also limits access to the courts on the compensation payable through the “deeming” provision outlined above. The Bill is thus in conflict with Section 34 (the right of access to court), as well as Section 25 (the property clause, with its various requirements for a valid expropriation), and Section 33 (the right to just administrative action, which prohibits the land department from acting as “judge and jury in its own cause”). Where farm houses are included in the land expropriated, farm owners cannot be evicted from their homes without court orders (as required by Section 26 of the Constitution), but the Bill does not acknowledge this.

Our concerns about Agri SA

Agri SA is a very important role player. However, the IRR is concerned about some of the positions adopted by Agri SA, as these suggest that it does not fully comprehend the threat to commercial farming and may not be doing enough to protect farming interests.

For example, Agri SA has welcomed the Expropriation Bill and rejected criticisms of its unconstitutionality. Thanks mainly to the IRR’s sustained objections, the Bill may now be amended to give the magistrates’ courts jurisdiction to rule on both the validity of an expropriation and the amount of compensation payable. However, even if these changes are made, this will still not be enough to protect property owners, either black or white.

On general principles of constitutional interpretation, the onus lies on the State to prove that all constitutional requirements for a valid expropriation have been met. It is not the job of the expropriated owner to show that these criteria have not in fact been fulfilled. Moreover, the State must provide this proof before it proceeds with a disputed expropriation, as the constitutional guarantees otherwise have little practical significance. Great harm may also be done by an unconstitutional expropriation – and this harm might not be easy to reverse.

The IRR has thus proposed an alternative expropriation bill, under which:

– the State must prove the validity of a disputed expropriation before it proceeds with it;

– compensation must begin with market value, less the four discount factors listed in the Constitution, but must also include an amount to make good all losses directly resulting from an expropriation (such as moving costs and lost future income); while

– payment must be made in full before the State takes ownership, failing which the relevant notice of expropriation becomes invalid and falls away.

These changes would make it more difficult for the land department – or any other organ of state – to abuse the power to expropriate.

Agri SA has failed to make or support these important changes, perhaps because it sees the need to maintain a good relationship with the Government as more compelling. Good relations with the State are, of course, desirable. But the IRR’s experience, over several decades, is that appeasement does not work and that bad policy must always be opposed.

Propaganda against farmers

Farmers face not only a growing threat to their property rights, but also a barrage of adverse propaganda. This begins with repeated exaggerations of the ratio of white to black land ownership, which no longer stands at 87:13 but rather at around 65:35. Also relevant are constant accusations that farmers abuse and assault their farm workers, that they pay even less than the statutory minimum wage, and that they have illegally evicted more than a million farm residents since 1997. (By contrast, official figures put the total number of evictions, in the period from 1997 to 2009, at 826.)

Farmers have also repeatedly been accused of artificially inflating land prices, while the willing seller/willing buyer principle has often been identified as the main obstacle to successful land reform. Increasingly, farmers are now also being accused of having “stolen” their land, which means they have no valid claim to it and merit no compensation for it at all.

The purpose of this stigmatisation is to turn public opinion against farmers, so that the Government can more easily use its laws to target farmers, interfere in their businesses and, over time, take all or part of their farms.

Why is the Government targeting farmers in this way?

Many farmers find it difficult to believe that the Government could intend to harm a sector that is vital to food security, offers employment to the unskilled, and helps (through its exports) to reduce the current account deficit. But the African National Congress (ANC) and its allies in the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the South African Communist Party (SACP) care little for such practical realities. Their actions are instead guided by ideology and their commitment to a Soviet-inspired national democratic revolution (NDR). It is thus important not to be naïve – as Zimbabweans were – and not simply to accept the Government’s word when it says it has the best interests of commercial farming at heart.

Despite the collapse of the Soviet Union, the SACP – which controlled the ANC throughout the exile years – still continues to dominate the ruling party. Some 40% of President Jacob Zuma’s cabinet ministers and their deputies are known present or former members of the SACP. Others are surely also communists, even though their membership of the party has never been acknowledged. The three ministers driving the most damaging land laws and bills are all known or likely communists: Gugile Nkwinti, the land minister, Senzeni Zokwana, the agriculture minister, and Thulas Nxesi, the public works minister (who is responsible for the Expropriation Bill).

According to the SACP, the NDR offers the shortest and “most direct” path to a socialist and then communist future for South Africa. It also makes it possible to achieve “elements of socialism” today, even while the country retains a mixed economy and a strong private sector.

The ANC has slowly but steadily been implementing the NDR ever since 1994. In recent years, it has stepped up the pace, as it believes the “balance of forces” now allows this. Key factors here include the ouster of Thabo Mbeki – who was reluctant to make “great leaps forward” – along with the success of the ANC’s “cadre deployment policy”. Overall, the ANC believes it now has enough control over the police, army, public service, judiciary, media, business, and other opinion formers (the universities and civil society) to be able to push ahead with radical “economic” transformation in this second phase of the NDR.

The most important goal of the NDR is to “eliminate apartheid property relations”: in other words, to put an end to private property rights, whether these are held by white or black South Africans. According to Cosatu, it is also vital to vest ownership of all land in the State in order to “break the power of white capital”. Take out the word “white” and the real meaning of this call becomes apparent.

Most NDR interventions, whether in the land reform sphere or more broadly, are being implemented in the supposed interests of “transformation” and “redress” for apartheid injustices. However, the real aim is rather to empower the State and a small elite within the SACP. In time, this small group will control the entire economy and society, in much the same way as did the Communist Party in the Soviet Union.

Once this system is in place, it will provide unparalleled power and wealth for the few at the very top. It will make the SACP the gatekeeper over all opportunities for advancement, which will also offer various individuals significant opportunities for personal enrichment. In addition, pervasive state ownership and control will destroy not only the market economy but also the middle class, both black and white. The last objective is particularly important in a supposedly multiparty democracy, as the middle class could otherwise threaten the ANC’s hold on power.

This is already evident from past election results, which show that most of the ANC’s electoral support comes from the unskilled and jobless poor: from the people most dependent on social grants and the wider social wage. By contrast, the better educated, better off, and more independent middle class is more likely to support the Democratic Alliance and other opposition parties.

These voting patterns also help explain why the ANC has no interest in creating a class of black commercial farmers. On the contrary, the ruling party greatly fears the rise of black land owners because of the political and economic power they would wield. Against this background, the ANC’s repeated claim that it wants to create new black farmers is the great fraud at the heart of all the Government’s land reform efforts.

Overall, there is significant “method in the madness” of the policies now being directed at commercial agriculture (and other sectors of the economy). The Zimbabwe model is relevant too – not because South Africa is likely to implement land grabs in the same way – but rather because any major threat to property rights will curb investment, growth, and jobs, increase dependency on the State, undermine the market economy, and pave the way for the Government to take ownership or “custodianship” of ever more land and other assets. As the growth rate turns negative, the middle class will emigrate (if possible) or fall back among the poor (if not). The poor will be heavily dependent on the State for grants, transfers, and permits – and will become ever more fearful of voting against the ruling party. However, key individuals at the top of the ANC and the SACP will become super-rich and super-powerful, in much the same way as the top echelons of Zanu-PF have done.

What must farmers do?

The first thing to do is to understand what is going on and why. You need to know what laws are being passed and what powers they give the Government. You also need to understand the ideology which motivates the ANC and the SACP, for this explains why the Government will not in fact shrink from damaging the commercial farming sector – even though this is sure to reduce living standards, wreck the rural economy, and increase food prices.

Once you understand what is happening and why, the second thing is to organise against it. Join farming unions and civil society groups that have your interests at heart. Use your power as members to compel the leadership of those groups to act in your best interests. There is no need to try and forge a single representative group: on the contrary, several different groups working together will be more effective.

The third step is for these groups to identify core issues of principle that are essential to the future of commercial farming. Most important here are your property rights – these are non-negotiable. Thereafter, it is vital to shift the national debate away from its current focus on how best to redistribute land to how best to secure the future of commercial farming.

Farmers must play a much more decisive role in setting the terms of reference for the debate around land and agriculture. The emphasis in this debate must be on ensuring the survival and growth of the commercial farming sector. Do not fall into the trap of letting the Government set the terms of the debate. If you do, the Government will frame the debate in a way that puts you on the back foot and leaves you trying to explain why your core property rights should not be taken away. In a nutshell, by the time you find yourself talking about whether the Government should take 10%, 20%, or 50% of your farm, you have already lost. This failure to set the terms of the debate is the greatest failing of organised agriculture in South Africa.

Once you are clear about your non-negotiable principles – starting with the sanctity of your property rights – you can begin to exert pressure. Use your structures to target political parties, individual political leaders, and large agricultural businesses, along with your suppliers, the banks, and agricultural co-operatives. Challenge them publicly to lend their weight and influence to campaigns against policies that threaten the future of commercial farming. If they refuse to act in your interests, you may have to act against them. Boycotting a company’s products will quickly send a strong message. You have economic and political power – so use it.

Lastly, you need a highly effective policy and communications strategy. Do not allow a single bad law or policy to be drawn up without challenging it publicly, building a lobby group of individuals and organisations to oppose it, and proposing a better alternative. Take the policy lead by strongly pushing for policies that will be effective in promoting investment, growth, and jobs. Engage constructively with the Government whenever it seems willing to listen to your ideas.

At the same time, do not allow a single misrepresented fact or piece of propaganda against commercial farmers to go unchallenged. Dominate the agricultural, business, and popular media with your ideas and arguments. Use every opportunity to state your case. Build strong relationships with international organisations, diplomats, journalists, and other policy and opinion formers. Farmers must turn popular opinion in their favour, for this will become the most powerful asset they have.

At present, the ANC and SACP are able to pursue the NDR without attracting almost any scrutiny or critical comment. South Africa is thus sleep-walking into a socialist and communist future. Yet if most South Africans knew what was at stake, they would thoroughly reject and oppose these outcomes.

Starting to resist in the way earlier outlined is a hardline strategy, and it carries risks. If farmers go this way then, in the short term, the accusations and the pressure against them will be ratcheted up. It is also late in the day, and the campaign against commercial farmers has already gone so far that there can be no guarantee of success. However, if you stay the course, you will increasingly win allies. If you can also change the terms of the policy debate so that it starts focusing on how best to secure the future of large scale commercial farming, you will be on to a winning formula.

On the other hand, what is certain is that further appeasement and a willingness to negotiate on core principles, such as the sanctity of property rights, is a losing strategy. It probably will not end up in the violent land invasions we saw in Zimbabwe. But it could well end up with the Government taking ownership, custodianship or control of ever more farming land – and ultimately making it impossible for commercial farmers to run profitable businesses.

Issued by the IRR, 12 October 2015


Housing policy: A fundamental rethink required – IRR
Copyright: The ANC govt takes another slice off property rights – IRR
The ANC seems intent on turning its back on the West – IRR

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Source: http://www.politicsweb.co.za/news-and-analysis/property-rights-boere-must-make-a-plan–irr

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Increase in listeriosis — 30 people die

Pretoria – Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi is expected to provide an update on the listeriosis outbreak in which at least 36 people have died since the end of last year.

Motsoaledi is expected to shed light on the progress of tracing the source of the outbreak, with more than 500 cases reported already.

In December, Motsoaledi warned people to take the necessary precautions after giving an update on the outbreak. The bacteria is found in soil, water and vegetation.

"If you encounter the symptoms I’ve mentioned please rush to look for medical help, in other words don’t just assume and sit at home especially if you get flu-like symptoms now in summer," he said at the time.

"All the stakeholders are co-operating with the investigation led by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD). Environmental health officers are following up diagnosed cases and are visiting their homes to sample food where available," he said.

‘Always take precautionary measures’

Listeria typically occurs every year, with between 60-80 cases detected and treated annually, however, in July last year, the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Johannesburg and Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria alerted the NICD to unusually high numbers of babies with listeriosis.

Out of the 557 cases reported, 345 cases were reported in Gauteng, followed by the Western Cape which reported 71 cases, and 37 cases were reported in KwaZulu-Natal.

Following that, the City of Johannesburg activated outbreak response teams across the city to "help educate the public" on preventing the spread of listeriosis, a disease that has thus far claimed over 30 lives.

"We have activated our environmental health outbreak units to monitor all our food outlets and also assist in educating communities on what steps to take to remain safe. It is important to tell our people to always take precautionary measures and to avoid certain foods that might cause listeriosis if not prepared accordingly," said Gauteng MMC for Health and Social Development, Dr Mpho Phalatse.

Source: https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/motsoaledi-to-provide-update-on-listeriosis-outbreak-20180108

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Water shortages the result of water socialism

Water Socialism Puts South Africa at Existential Risk

The Cape water crisis has been blamed on a freak drought, a lack of adequate municipal planning and resource management, and on Capetonians who “use too much water.”

But these are either proximate or faux causes of the water shortages. The real reason for the water crisis is South Africa’s water socialism which considers water a human right and a resource to be wholly controlled and managed by the state. Under a system of water socialism, we should not be at all surprised that South Africa faces water shortages. Shortages are, after all, one of the defining features of socialism.

The “human right” and “state control” features of South Africa’s water system render water one of the most wasted and mismanaged resources of all. This is particularly unfortunate since water is a critical ‘foundation’ resource in the survival chain and production structure. Even a small child can grasp that without water every system on earth collapses. The adage that some resources are too critical to be left to profit-seeking entrepreneurs has it precisely backwards – instead, some resources are too critical to be left to state bureaucrats.

South Africans have ample examples of this. State-managed education, healthcare and even electricity supply (to name but a few sectors) are marred by declining supply and quality, not to mention escalating costs.

Declaring an economic resource to be a human right is bogus and should not possibly be legally permitted to reside as a clause in the constitution. Stipulating that someone has a right to “sufficient water” implies that everyone has a property right in water resources. But since almost everyone does not, in fact, have their own exclusive access to or control of water, this implies a general claim on unspecified water resources. This cannot be a rational basis for any property rights at all. It is tantamount to no one owning any water resources, except, of course, the state who stipulates itself as the sole rightful custodian of it.

So South Africa has in effect a single owner of water – the state – that is bound constitutionally to act as though everyone owned it. It is a monopoly system in which the monopolist is forced to ensure everyone gets “enough water” whether they can pay for it or not. This system is the worst of all worlds, resulting in three core features that render the system highly prone to potentially ruinous supply shortages.

No market prices: There is no proper functioning water market, and so prices cannot form properly to reflect the real scarcity in the system. Water prices in South Africa are determined politically and bureaucratically with a focus on “cost recovery” rather than on marginal value in a free market which signals relative scarcity. Without prices to indicate real scarcity and make profit and loss calculations, it is impossible to know how to allocate resources to water production appropriately.

State monopoly inefficiency: Even if prices could be formed and fluctuate in a way that reflects scarcity, a monopolist producing a highly demand-inelastic good (i.e. a good that is such a necessity that its rising price reduces demand for it by a lesser proportion than the price increase) would have little incentive to increase production. Why invest money in raising supply when you can just maintain existing capital to milk higher profits with no competitors allowed to enter the market? Worse, since water management bureaucrats are neither owners themselves nor accountable to shareholders and are merely temporary caretakers while in office, there is practically no incentive even to maintain infrastructure capital. As infrastructure capital deteriorates, so water supply output falls further.

Excessive demand due to under-pricing: Not only is a proper price system impossible under a state monopoly system (point 1), but that pricing mechanism is distorted further by the constitutional ‘water right’ mandate which causes water prices to be set artificially low, and in many cases free. Excessively low prices only worsen shortages since consumers have no economic incentive to conserve water when it’s so cheap.

These three factors are disastrous to the goal of preserving and growing the supply of quality consumable water. In the end, you can only do play-play economics for so long before reality asserts itself. Water socialism might sound good on paper but leads to perilous shortages and costs inevitably rising to reflect this scarcity. In arrogantly distrusting profit-seeking entrepreneurs to deliver a range of different water supply services to various customers, the state is ensuring that, far from supplying water to all, it runs the risk of supplying water to none.

This is the state of affairs in Cape Town where water supplies have run precariously low, forcing the municipality to institute harsh water restrictions. The local government has scrapped the first-five-kilolitres-free policy in all but the least affluent suburbs, but even these new prices amount to a near-free R25 for 5,000 litres.

We know this is a dramatic under-pricing compared to the free market since according to various news reports people are marking up and selling municipal water in secondary black markets and some buyers are willing to pay around R3,000 for 5000 litres of privately delivered water in Cape Town. Water fetching these prices on the free market also makes a mockery of the oft-repeated trope that ocean desalination is “too expensive.” Instead, it is obvious that reticulated municipal water is too cheap.

Moreover, the system of water socialism means that government officials keep trying to bar entrepreneurs from supplying and selling water to buyers in need. The department of water and sanitation says it is illegal to sell water aside from retailed bottled water, and that doing so can lead to a prison sentence of up to 5 years! This threat is utterly ridiculous, yes, but also unbelievably tyrannical. Western Cape farmers tapping groundwater on their properties, trucking it into Cape Town suburbs and selling it to willing buyers is precisely how the free market begins to solve a water shortage crisis.

The same can be said of urban entrepreneurs capturing otherwise lost run-off and selling it. The more private buyers purchase privately produced water, the less pressure on dwindling municipal supplies, and the more market participants create economic value. Since the government also gets to confiscate the proceeds of economic value creation through taxes, one would think to allow such activity would be a no-brainer, but the technocratic socialists in charge are not renowned for economic literacy.

The Democratic Alliance (DA), the party that governs Cape Town and the Western Cape is now scrambling to fix the mess it has presided over along with the national government. It is commissioning fast-tracked ocean desalination plants and rigs and aiming to tap some aquifers in and around Cape Town. It is also on a haughty moral crusade to shame people into using less water and fining them for ‘overuse’.

Despite winning the municipal election by a landslide, the DA lacks the political courage to raise prices to those obtainable in the prohibited free market, fearing it will lose votes. It’s amazing how higher prices and adequate supply, not fascist-style rationing, shaming and penalties on your customers, is seen as “politically tricky.” And with price increases, the government can still provide ‘free water’ to impoverished households via the use of basic water vouchers.

And so Cape Town sits with a half-baked solution to its acute water problems. The local government is finally taking steps to invest in new water capacity while cowing consumers into using less water and heavily rationing farm irrigation. As a result, the city will probably just survive long enough without running out of water to make it to the next rainy season in winter 2018. But what of 2019 and beyond?

Will the drought break and lull overconfident bureaucrats into another complacent stupor until the next inevitable crisis? Efforts by state officials to date in no way diminish the urgency with which the city, province and country need to end water socialism by allowing water resources to be owned and sold and proper market competition and prices to form. The state also needs to erase the impossible and dangerous constitutional provisions that scarce resources are “human rights” before even more people are forced to go without.

Source: http://www.politicsweb.co.za/opinion/water-shortages-the-result-of-water-socialism?utm_source=Politicsweb+Daily+Headlines&utm_campaign=228a8169ad-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_11_22&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_a86f25db99-228a8169ad-140192329

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