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South Africa land theft: Crappy constitution all but allows it

Up until, or on the day, a predictable calamity unfolds in South Africa, you still find Western media insisting that,

And the latest:

To listen to leftist, counter-factual, ahistorical pabulum served up by most in media, a decision in South Africa’s Parliament to smooth the way for an expropriation without compensation of private property came out of … nowhere.

It just so happened – pure fluke! – that the permanently entrenched, racialist parties in Parliament used their thumping majorities to vote for legalizing state theft from a politically powerless minority. Didn’t see that coming!

And they beat on breast. How did the mythical land of Saint Nelson Mandela turn into Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”?

How did that country’s “vaunted” constitution yield to “the horror, the horror” of land theft? Easily, even seamlessly – as I’ve been warning since the 2011 publication of my book “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa,” which provided the analytical edifice for what’s unfolding; and the only viable solutions before a metaphorical Masada. Or, a last stand. You can pile more murders, more corruption, more horror atop the same analytical foundation; but, distilled to bare bones, the truth about South African remains unchanged.

To wit, there’s a reason the South African Constitution is loved by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg! “If I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012,” she told Al-Hayat TV, “I might look at the constitution of South Africa. …” The woman who’s spent her years on the bench trying to make the U.S. Constitution more like South Africa’s should know a thing or two.

An abiding truth studiously finessed by the news cartel is that Cyril Ramaphosa – the latest Sexy Beast to regale the West from the Sacred Grounds of South Africa – promised to be gentle about land theft. Oh, yes: One of Ramaphosa’s presidential campaign promises was to finally get down to the business of the people: stealing private property, an inherently aggressive, coercive act.

Order columnist Ilana Mercer’s brilliant polemical work, “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa”

Since replacing Jacob Zuma as president, Ramaphosa has endeavored to “speed up the transfer of land from white to black owners after his inauguration two weeks ago.” (It used to be that “conservatives” viewed stealing a man’s property as a crime and a disqualifier of sorts. But Breitbart’s Joel Pollak, a fellow South African, gets behind the notion that Ramaphosa has been “a moderate throughout his career, whose negotiation skills helped bring about a peaceful end to apartheid.”)

Before Ramaphosa, Zuma too had “called on Parliament to change South Africa’s Constitution to allow the expropriation of white-owned land without compensation.”

Unlike the celebrity journos involved, both men know that said Constitution is no bulwark against state expropriation. Or, against any “public” or private violence, for that matter. As a protector of individual rights to life, liberty and property, the thing is worse than useless – a wordy and worthless document.

Take Section 12 of this progressive Constitution. It enshrines the “Freedom and Security of the Person.” Isn’t it comforting to know that in a country where almost everyone knows someone who has been raped, robbed, hijacked, murdered, or all of the above – the individual has a right to live free of all those forms of violence?

Here’s the rub: Nowhere does the South African Constitution state whether its beneficiaries may defend their most precious of rights. Recounted in “Into The Cannibal’s Pot” is example after example, and attendant analysis, of innocent victims of crime punished and prosecuted by those who swore to uphold the Constitution. These victims are punished for merely and minimally defending their so-called constitutionally enshrined rights.

The African National Congress (Mandela’s party) has always, not suddenly, disregarded the importance of private property, public order and the remedial value of punitive justice. Innocent victims of crime under its regime are regularly forced to defend themselves in their own homes on pain of imprisonment.

A right that can’t be defended is a right in name only. Implicit in the right to life is the right to self-defense.

It’s why I contended that South Africa’s Constitution is descriptive, not prescriptive – full of pitch-perfect verbal obesities that provide little by way of recourse for those whose natural, individual rights are violated.

Certainly, self-defense verges on an offense in the new constitutional democracy. For example, the Amendments to the Criminal Procedure Act stipulates that, “Before you can act in self-defense, the attack against you should have commenced, or at least be imminent” (“Cannibal,” pp. 29-30). How is that feat calibrated? Wait until you feel the blade or the bullet before defending your life? Alas, to avoid incarceration, you must find a way to calibrate a defensive response in your own castle.

With the advent of the constitutional Firearm Control Act of 2000 (FCA) – the Safety and Security Minister unveiled “an arsenal” of stricter gun-control laws, decreeing that “non-threatening” home invaders would no longer face on-the-spot justice. Should a South African awaken to find a malefactor standing by the bed, he shall have to hold his fire and attempt to ascertain the intruder’s manifestly acquisitive – and almost certainly murderous – motives.

For dispatching an assailant in your home, with a licensed firearm, you will generally be arrested and charged with murder or with attempted murder, if unsuccessful. It’s pro forma. To add to their woes under South Africa’s Constitution, acting in self-defense while white will often see a self-defense offender publicly shamed as a “raaaaaacist” (p. 29).

To repeat, in a country where almost everyone knows someone who has been raped, robbed, hijacked, murdered, an oleaginous ANC official decides whether a woman, black or white, truly needs a handgun for “self-defense.” This process can take years. Reasons the South Africa Police Service – revamped and thoroughly integrated, racially – gives for denying an application are: a “lack of motivation,” “your husband can protect you,” “the police will protect you,” “you are too young.”

Talk about an “eff-off” attitude!

As for equality before the law: The South African Bill of Rights is contemptuous of it. The Bill of Rights enshrines group rights and allows for compensatory and distributive “justice.” The state’s confiscatory powers may be used to redress “past injustices.” “… To promote the achievement of equality; legislative and other measures designed to protect or advance persons, or categories of persons, disadvantaged by unfair discrimination may be taken.”

I told you: The Constitution already allows a good deal of mischief in the name of the “greater good,” including land expropriation in the “public interest.” Thus the Expropriation Bill of 2008: It is the precursor to the current land expropriation process.

So where, pray tell, was the news cartel when it was floated as an impetus for land nationalization?

With the 2008 bill, the dominant ruling party had empowered itself – and “any organ of state, at any level of government” – to take ownership and possession of property “simply by giving notice to the expropriated owner.” “The state would make the ‘final’ determination of the compensation due, subject only to a limited form of court review.”

Both movable and immovable property has always been up for grabs – “livestock and farming implements, residential homes, business premises and equipment, patents, and shares.” The 2008 bill was temporarily shelved before the 2009 elections, but not forgotten. It led naturally to talk about nationalization. (“Cannibal,” p. 74.)

In March 2010, a plan was tabled in Parliament for turning “all productive land into a national asset leased to farmers.” Such sentiments are hardly new. True to a promise made in Mandela’s magic 1955 communistic Freedom Charter, the ANC has already nationalized the “mineral wealth beneath the soil” and the water rights. (Has the mummified media ever wondered out loud why Cape Town has run dry?)

Thereafter, to supplement the Expropriation Bill, the Party had published a policy paper that warned, among other planned infractions, of the need to water-down the already weak property-rights provision in the Constitution.

All along had the entrenchment of a property clause in the South African Constitution angered judicial activists, who conflate the protection of private property with the entrenchment of white privilege. (Hence the subtitle of “Into the Cannibal’s Pot”: “Lessons for America …”) Their fears were overblown. Back then, I wagered that nationalization would necessitate but a minor tweak to the Constitution, since the latter already allows all the mischief mentioned.

The Hobbesian choice the ANC had always planned to present to white farmers was between making them mere tenants of the state (by declaring all productive land a national asset under state control) and, on the other hand, “placing a ceiling on how much land individual farmers can own.”

Which, in practice, limits economies of scale, and with them successful commercial agriculture.

“One farmer, one farm” was how Zimbabwe’s Zanu-PF thugs described this policy. The South African government still asserts that it is merely putting in place a “mechanism for taking back failed farms from black farmers.”

Echoing its claims is another great mind, Breitbart’s Mr. Pollak. He has dignified the excuse that the “target of land reform … would be ‘unused’ land,” black and white – assurances even his pals at the liberal “South African Institute of Race Relations had exposed as a red herring to conceal the State’s more plausible intention to wrest control of agricultural production from white commercial farmers.” (Citation in “Cannibal,” p. 74.)

Since the dawn of “freedom” in South Africa, and as a matter of daily practice, commercial farmers, mostly white, have been terrorized and threatened with land claims. As if this were not bad enough, they can now expect nationalization.

In case Zimbabwe is a distant memory, the nationalization of South Africa’s farms will increase unemployment in the agricultural sector, and with it, rural poverty. That will guarantee mass migration to the cities, with all the attendant problems which this exodus poses. Also, it will undermine South Africa’s ability to meet its food needs and deter investment in the country.

And these, so help us, are the positive aspects of land parity.

Most damningly, the country’s constitution has a clause devoted to “Limitation of Rights.” Apparently, the constitutional “scholars” who compiled the document saw no need to protect the rights of minorities “that [had] not been victims of past discrimination.” The possibility that the fortunes of hitherto un-oppressed minorities might change did not occur to the occupants of the bench.

The material is adapted from “Into the cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa” (2011) by Ilana Mercer, where citation are provided.