STATEMENT BY BRETT HERRON, GOOD SECRETARY – GENERAL AND MEMBER OF THE WESTERN CAPE PROVINCIAL PARLIAMENT
19 February 2021
The DA is running a fundamentally dishonest and inflammatory campaign against the land expropriation bill warning that citizens stand to lose everything they own including their cars.
The campaign is an emotional appeal to relatively privileged South Africans, including those who have abandoned or are about to abandon the DA for the FF+, aimed at conjuring images of violent land grabs – embellished by car-snatching. It is a modern equivalent of the images of white farmers being attacked by thieving and blood-thirsty Black hordes in apartheid propaganda movies.
DA member of parliament Samantha Graham tweeted yesterday: “Whether you own property or a car, ANC officials stand to seize anything you own!” The tweet was accompanied by a link to a petition against the expropriation bill.
Graham was unable to substantiate her fear-mongering and point out the words where the bill entitled the State to expropriate citizens’ cars, despite being strongly challenged by numerous Twitter users to do so.
She couldn’t substantiate her position because the campaign is a fraud. Besides being dishonest, it is appallingly divisive, treading a fine line between reactionary fear-mongering and old-fashioned swartgevaar. It was similar messaging that mobilised violent extremists to invade the US parliament last month.
For the record, the bill does not allow anybody to “seize anything you own”. Graham should be referred to parliament’s Ethics Committee.
When I pointed this out to Graham on Twitter, she responded that because the bill was sponsored by the Department of Public Works, headed by GOOD Leader Patricia De Lille, I had a political agenda to discredit “the DA’s version of events”.
She does not appear to understand that the truth is the truth. Anything else, including the DA’s “version of events”, is a lie. And she does not understand her responsibility, as a parliamentarian, to understand and accurately interpret processes and laws for her constituency.
For the record, GOOD’s position on the Bill – widely published prior to De Lille’s appointment to the Cabinet – was that amending the Constitution was unnecessary because it already entitled the expropriation of land without compensation. The new Bill explicitly enables this provision.
It provides for the expropriation of property for a public purpose or in the public interest, and provides for certain specific instances where nil compensation may be appropriate in the public interest.
It appears that the DA is fighting to retain the 1975 Expropriation Act, part of the arsenal of apartheid legislation used to strip people of colour of their property rights while affirming the rights of the privileged few.
Their petition is based on misinformation and if it is gathering signatures it is doing so under false pretences. The petition is thus worthless and cannot be seriously considered by parliamentarians when they deal with public comment.