Panic and controversy have hit the people of South Africa as talks of land expropriation without compensation have become a reality. People are expressing their concerns about the way in which it will be carried out and lawyers are pulling their hair out over finding solutions and solving conflicts as discussions begin on the proposed constitutional amendment.
Thuli Madonsela, the former public protector, says that she feels this process is necessary but that a lot more work has to go into the way that the government will go about it. She commented on the issue at a conference on social justice and mediation in the Western Cape saying: "Using hard power to resolve human issues is not always the best way, and litigation does [not resolve them]. It is a priority that we should deal with. Land redistribution has been far too slow.
"Government can expropriate land. It can expropriate my house, your house. The state lands sell for nothing, but when the State then buys land, it could be sitting next to the plot that the State sold yesterday, [and] the State pays exorbitant [prices]... there's collusion in that process where the land is inflated and sold."
She had received numerous concerns regarding corruption in the process of expropriating the land. Madonsela assured the public that the process would be undertaken in a way that would take food security into consideration but she has made no comments on the involvement of human rights in the process. However, regardless of the constitution, the government is still bound to abide by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on Human and People's Rights.
The solution will be a balancing act of fair and just process and Madonsela urged the public to " ...participate in this process, alert government to pitfalls, but also offer government solutions to how do we achieve social justice."