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Is South Africa’s property clause an obstacle or engine for socio-economic transformation?

When: Tuesday, 10 April 2018 - Tuesday, 10 April 2018
Where: Braamfontein Campus East
Social Sciences Seminar Room, RS248, Robert Sobukwe Block
Start time:12:30

Professor Jackie Dugard from the Wits School of Law will present this seminar hosted by the Southern Centre for Inequality Studies.

During 2017, politicians from an increasingly embattled African National Congress (ANC) government began publicly calling for radical economic transformation. Such calls, however politically cynical and undefined, occur against the devastating reality of widening and persistently racialised socio-economic inequality. Among underlying determinants of inequality, one of the issues that has dominated socio-political discourse in recent years has been unequal access to property and especially land. This gave rise to the ANC's resolution in December 2017, as well as the resolution in the National Assembly in February 2018, regarding the expropriation of land without compensation. At the heart of public discussion over land has been contestation over Section 25 of the Constitution, the ‘property clause’, which is widely perceived to be an obstacle to transformation. Section 25’s Janus-like character has given rise to a schizophrenic public discourse in which, at the same time as there are calls to scrap Section 25, many poor people and communities are appealing to the government to speed up private property titling processes, and property owners are voicing anxiety about their rights. It is against this backdrop, and particularly in the context of the Constitution’s transformative objective to ‘improve the quality of life of all citizens’ and advance the ‘achievement of equality’, that there is a need to examine the extent to which Section 25 is an obstacle or engine for socio-economic transformation in South Africa.

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