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AGOA: why the silence on grave EWC risk?

Neelam Rahim | neelam@radioislam.co.za

2-minute read
07 November 2023 | 19:23 CAT

Image: Google

The AGOA Forum, which entered its final day in Johannesburg amidst threats, fanfare and big promises, refrained from addressing the risk of South Africa’s exit because of the Expropriation Bill’s provisions for expropriation. The Institute for Race Relations says that there was not a word from officials on either the US or South African sides about the risk of South Africa’s exit because of the Expropriation Bill’s provisions for expropriation without compensation (EWC).

The Expropriation Bill, which has been passed by the National Assembly and is expected to be signed into law before the next national election in 2024, disestablishes “private property rights” through EWC on an open list of grounds, including the seizure of title deeds on hijacked buildings, invaded land, and land that was bought primarily “to benefit from the appreciation of its market value”.

“This unambiguously violates private property rights in the universal sense of the term, and according to US law. That puts South African exporters, and workers who depend on those businesses, at risk,” says IRR fellow Gabriel Crouse.

Although US delegates appear to have issued no public warnings on South Africa’s removal from AGOA due to EWC in Johannesburg, US lawmakers in Washington have already raised concerns.

The committee chair, Congressman John James, further called EWC a “disastrous policy” which would “destroy South Africa’s constitutionally protected private property rights”.

Crouse stated that South Africans should heed Congressman James’ warning.

“There is no country in the world that has remained democratic after removing its population’s private property rights,” he explained.

Listen to the full interview on Your World Today with Annisa Essack.

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