Released - 25 June 2019
After extensive research, and working from a base of zero experience, a “Crowdfunding” campaign platform has now been created. Please go to https://www.backabuddy.co.za/26778-land-claim and make your casual donations (NOT subscriptions). More importantly, please encourage all your friends and relations to go to https://www.backabuddy.co.za/26778-land-claim to make their donations.
The process is safe and very simple. After opening https://www.backabuddy.co.za/26778-land-claim ‘Click’ on the yellow Donate button (on the right hand side of the page near the top). This will take you to a page that enables you to make your donations.
Much as in the manner of a chain letter, it is hoped that you will encourage your friends and relations to make donations and that they, in turn, will encourage their friends and relations to make donations. Our target is R250 000. And if that seems excessive remember, it is just ten Rand from each of twenty-five thousand people. (Or R100 from each of two thousand five hundred people.)
The trial date remains set for the last two weeks of March 2020.
So, now just nine months until the trial. Nine months in which to collect another 90 (approximately) POA’s and nine months in which to raise (approximately) nine hundred thousand Rand.
3. Working towards the trial.
Before the trial there is much to do – for all the parties.
LCAG must, obviously, raise the necessary funds, ensure the member records are in good order and confirm the supporting expert witness reports are available. One concern was that the anthropological report (produced back in 2005) might need to be re-done. However the legal team have reviewed it and consider it to be completely satisfactory. An additional report is not required – which is great news.
The State Attorney and Department of Rural Development and Land Reform also have a number of tasks – some due for completion by the 28 June 2019. These tasks include:-
- Prepare a list of all properties under claim and indicate which of those properties it regards as not being feasible to restore.
- Hold a meeting with Telkom and National Space Agency to discuss the feasibility of restoring the properties owned by them.
- Produce an amended notice of claim and publish a list of any properties not previously published.
Unfortunately history indicates that the State Attorney and the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform are not reliable and are not capable of performing the tasks they have to perform. Our legal team are constantly reminding them of their responsibilities but, at this stage because of the costs involved, are avoiding litigation.
4.1 Expenses. Peet Grobbelaar has now produced an updated estimate of the legal costs. Unfortunately these costs have increased significantly, due in large part to:-
- The work that was necessary in getting the State Attorney to perform.
- A provision for costs in respect of re-performing the anthropological report.
To some extent these cost increases will be offset by cost orders (as yet unquantified) that have been made against the State Attorney and the belief that much of the work needed to re-perform the anthropological report will not now be necessary (refer to first paragraph of 3 above).
4.2 Income. Unfortunately the income, due from outstanding subscription debtors, has not been flowing in nearly as fast as was hoped for. R49k was received in April and just R31 was received in May – these amounts being from subscription debtors totalling approximately R1.5 million.
4.3 Result. The two factors (increased expenses due to legal costs and slower than expected inflow of subscription funds) means that the financial ‘hole’ that still needs to be filled by the trial date has grown to around R650 thousand. (Around R425 thousand as per the April newsletter).
It is hoped that, as the value of the cost orders already granted becomes known in the next month or so, the size of the ‘hole’ that still has to be filled can be more precisely quantified.
In the meantime, please make every effort to pay your outstanding subscriptions and encourage your neighbours to do the same.
At end of May 2019 funds in the bank and money market amounted to R843 thousand.
(Note: Costs do not include an estimate of R200 thousand, which will be incurred after the court case, for preparing the cost orders.)
5. Alternative and additional funding.
During the SGM on 10th April a number of members proposed that alternative fundraising exercises should be explored and undertaken. A couple of suggestions have subsequently been received but, so far, nobody has come-up with any concrete proposals and plans for doing the work and for making anything happen.
It must be stressed that the committee have their hands full with existing responsibilities (legal processes, member administration and records, financial management, communications, land and general administration matters etc.). Thus, if any alternative fundraising exercise (e.g. fete, golf day, beer fest, book sale.) is going to happen then it is you, the members who are going to have to ‘make-it-happen’. This means, in essence, that you are going to have to plan it, organise it, lead it, staff it and control it.
That said, the Committee would welcome any individual, or group, who would like to form a sub-committee that has the raising of funds by alternative methods as an objective.
Any volunteers should please contact the chairman, Leon Scholtz (083 463 3951) who will convene a meeting to set-up a framework.
It must be repeated that the task of raising the necessary funds is absolutely vital. Without sufficient funds the committee will be forced to withdraw from the case and this may open LCAG to cost orders from the Claimants, the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform and the State Attorney, who might be particularly vengeful in view of the cost order secured against him personally.
Unfortunately much of the enthusiasm, for alternative fundraising activities shown during the Special General Meeting, seems to have evaporated in the ‘cold light of day’.
6. Expropriation Without Compensation
The following article, by Terence Corrigan, was published in the Daily Maverick on 19 June 2019. It is worth reading as it provides much ‘food for thought’.
Regarding: Thuli Madonsela and land reform: Getting it right and wrong on South Africa
Thuli Madonsela is simultaneously correct and incorrect to claim ‘there’s consistency (in policies such as land reform) and you know how to position yourself for what’s coming’. Insofar as this provides certainty, it’s a certainty of a disconsolate fate.
Former public protector Thuli Madonsela has become something of a go-to authority for those seeking analysis on South Africa. Justly respected for her resolute stand for probity in government, her words carry weight.
And so, when she expressed some rather upbeat thoughts on the trajectory of the country at a conference hosted last week by insurance giant Sanlam, it must have prompted some careful listening.
For Professor Madonsela, the so-called New Dawn under President Cyril Ramaphosa evidently remains a reality. Investment might follow the dissipation of governance pathologies that had been so much a part of what she had combated while in office.
Impunity was disappearing, she remarked. And South Africa was gaining greater certainty over policy questions, including deeply contentious ones.
“You might not be happy with some policies such as land reform but at least there’s consistency and you know how to position yourself for what’s coming.”
She went on to remark:
“One of the things investors are looking for is whether your legal system is functioning and that has always been one of our strong points here in SA. Of course, there may be concerns about delays but just generally the rule of law in that regard [property rights] is guaranteed.”
Unfortunately, this optimism may well be misplaced, a trust in hope rather than evidence.
It is difficult to know on what grounds Professor Madonsela claims that it is possible to “position yourself for what’s coming” on land reform. The issue for business has never been land reform per se, but the wholly destructive idea of expropriation without compensation (EWC) and the consequent degradation of property rights.
As we at the Institute of Race Relations have heard time and again from domestic and foreign investors, EWC is an investment killer. To undermine the protections afforded to investors’ assets is to introduce a baleful disincentive to investing at all.
The basic intention of the government – to grant itself the latitude to take property without compensation – would be bad enough, but the manner in which this has played out could scarcely have been calculated to inflict more damage. To call it a policy debate would be to afford it a sense of responsibility and reflectiveness that it has no proper claim on. Rather, what we saw for months was an often bombastic call to arms that disregarded the substantive challenges confronting land reform and was often fused with an untidy racial nationalism.
Later, there was a calming of the rhetoric – the audible declaration that the country would be undertaking EWC gave way to a more restrained intention to undertake “land reform” – but make no mistake, there has been not the slightest indication that the intention has been altered.
Professor Madonsela is simultaneously correct and incorrect to claim “there’s consistency and you know how to position yourself for what’s coming”. Yes, indeed, there is consistency in that it is clear (and has repeatedly been made clear) that EWC is coming. But the form it will take, the measures that property owners might take to protect themselves in the impending reality, are unknown. Consistency, perhaps, but no certainty.
Indeed, the messages heard since the beginning of the year point to a very disturbing future. When a senior official declared to an audience of investors at Davos that it was government’s intention to effectively nationalise all land, or when the African National Congress in the Northern Cape produced a list of working farms targeted for seizure – and when neither of these was refuted or contradicted by the president – one can’t help but accept this as an indication of what lies ahead.
And insofar as this provides certainty, it’s a certainty of a disconsolate fate.
Meanwhile, among those who invested hope in President Ramaphosa to steer the country to a better future – presumably, many in Professor Madonsela’s audience – there are no doubt many second thoughts. Of the five quarters for which economic information is available since the president’s ascension to office, three have seen negative growth. Even if this is turned around, prospects of more than 1% growth in 2019 are slim. (The National Development Plan, with which Ramaphosa was associated, envisioned raising economic growth in South Africa to some 5.4% a year over a protracted period as a necessary requirement for making inroads into the unemployment crisis and providing the beginnings of a path out of poverty for millions of South Africans.)
The recent controversy over the South African Reserve Bank and the president’s (belated) intervention – that fundamentally, he agreed with nationalising it but recognised the dangers doing so would hold, and so wanted merely to defer doing so (to a time when those damages can better be absorbed?) – can only reinforce these concerns.
Peter Attard Montalto – another respected voice on the country, with particular insights into the thinking of investors – offered an insightful and chilling analysis:
“At root I believe the issue is that there was no realisation that this was a real, live issue until too late. It was dismissed as a ‘normal’ debate rather than a political attack with credibility fallout.”
There is every reason to believe that this situation will repeat itself as the government pushes on with fanciful and reckless policy. And there is little indication that the president will intervene to rein in the damage, not if it means conflict within his party.
Professor Madonsela reportedly said that if business was not satisfied with the progress of the New Dawn, it should act itself. This is sage advice. Faith in the intentions of the country’s leadership has been a poor bet recently.
(Terence Corrigan is a project manager at the Institute of Race Relations.)
The above matters are updates to the recent previous newsflashes and, for clarity, should be read in conjunction with them.
As a formality I should like to record that the opinions stated above are my own and are made without prejudice to any legal or any other position that may exist insofar as the Broederstroom Land Claim is concerned.
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The opinions expressed in this newsletter are my own and do not necessarily represent those of the Committee or of the appointed legal team.