December 20, 2018 Print

All property is under threat in South Africa, as “EWC,” Expropriation without Compensation, is under consideration. The Free Market Foundation, an Atlas Network partner, convened a high profile conference in Johannesburg Nov. 20 to explain the dangers to the public and to form strategies to combat it. Atlas Network partners from Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Kenya, and Burundi explained for the South African public the importance of well defined and legally secure property. Participants heard by video from Venezuelans who described how such policies are destroying their country and creating the world’s fastest-growing refugee crisis. There was also a presentation on the history of EWC in other countries by Dr. Tom Palmer, Atlas Network’s executive vice president for international programs and George M. Yeager Chair for Advancing Liberty. Palmer described the results of uncompensated property confiscations in Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Romania, China, Cambodia, Afghanistan, and Venezuela and noted in conclusion that EWC in Zimbabwe had resulted in millions of refugees from that country now living in South Africa.  He asked, “If the same conditions are created in South Africa, where will you go?”

Dr. Tom Palmer's presentation on the disaster of expropriation without compensation

Speakers at the conference included Dr. Panuell Maduna, South Africa’s former minister of justice and constitutional development who was involved in creating the country’s constitutional protection of property rights, property lawyer Phephelaphi Dube, and many others. Rejoice Ngwenya, director of Zimbabwe’s Coalition for Market and Liberal Solutions, focused on Zimbabwe’s terrible experience with expropriation, which he explained clearly to millions of South Africans on radio and television, as did Palmer and the Free Market Foundation’s director Temba Nolutshungu. The conference received extensive coverage in more than a dozen news outlets, including three TV news shows, the Sunday Times, South African Broadcasting, Classic FM, and the BBC. Dr. Palmer was featured in an interview with BBC 4 on the event and the property rights crisis in South Africa.