Signed into law by Nelson Mandela in 1996, South Africa’s constitution is one of the world’s great liberal documents. It enshrines the basic rights of all South Africans to equality before the law, regardless of race, gender or sexuality. It insists on citizens’ rights to education, health care and shelter. Mandela said that it showed, “We are at last maturing to become a normal society.”
One section has, however, remained controversial. Section 25 outlines the law on land and property rights, prohibiting the “arbitrary deprivation of property”, while limiting expropriation to cases in the public interest, for which landholders would receive “just and equitable” compensation. Since its founding in 2013 the Economic Freedom Fighters (eff), a hard-left black-nationalist offshoot of the anc, has called for this section to be ripped up. It wants Zimbabwe-style seizures, with all land passing to the ownership of the state. Though this policy would be the fast-track to economic ruin it has proved attractive to some frustrated voters.
SOURCE: The Economist
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