Was it pure political posturing on the part of capitalism’s poster boy President Cyril Ramaphosa when he announced that the ANC led government will amend the constitution to effect land expropriation without compensation? Personally I don’t think so but then against it seems that denialists are saying it is to steal the march on the EFF ahead of 2019.
That, however, is not what this post is about. The IMF and world markets may say and postulate their concerns negatively but theirs is a matter that defies the facts that the claim of restoration of land rights in SA are anchored in the politics of dispossession underwritten by laws enacted by a government tainted by illegality.
It’s apposite to say that the same principles also apply vid-a-vis Zionist apartheid Israel. That’s for another time and space.
So what is this post about?
It’s about the ethics of illegal action that clashes with the principle of rule of law.
Here’s a question: If someone steals your land, in terms of a law validly enacted at the time and developed it, sure, it remains the property of the thief. The enshrining principle of rule of law, dictates that the thief or his/its successors in title can be dispossessed in terms of a legislated intervention or a judgment of a court of law where efforts to remedy centuries of injustice prove futile, obfuscated by beneficiaries of that injustice.
Should the rightful owner to whom the land is thus restored compensate the thief or his /its successors in title, for the improvements and developments on the land? That’s the ethical issue that is bothering me.
Before you jump to answer, don’t be emotive. Calmly reflect to two other legal principles: the first principle is about the fruits of a poisonous tree and the second is about unjust enrichment.
Saber Ahmed Jazbhay