Land Expropriation in South Africa: Updates After Parliamentary Ad Hoc Committee Meeting

The parliamentary ad hoc committee on changing section 25 of the Constitution to simplify expropriation without compensation met recently and mapped out the legislative road ahead for the controversial and important constitutional amendment.

It was the first time the committee met since being reconstituted after the election, a delay the new chairman, Dr Mathole Motshekga of the ANC, took responsibility for.

Although each new parliament is not bound by the decisions of its predecessors, the newly constituted committee will build on the work of its equivalent in the previous parliament. This includes the mandate of the committee, the public hearings which were held in 45 towns and cities across the country, the report of the high level panel chaired by former president Kgalema Motlanthe and the presidential advisory panel on agriculture.

Land issue in South Africa relates directly to the Constitution

Motshekga warned MPs to be circumspect because the land issue relates directly to the Constitution and the current parliamentary process is sure to be weighed by the courts, who will override any improper process. The chairman then proceeded to map the way forward.

Firstly, the committee will hold a workshop of experts to advise it, and Motshekga wants to invite what he calls the best brains in the country to participate. These would include, but not be limited to, Prof. Ruth Hall (UWC), Prof. Ben Cousins (UWC), Prof. Quinton Johnson (NMMU), former judges Albie Sachs, Dikgang Moseneke, Sandile Ngcobo and Johan van der Westhuizen, Adv. Tembeko Ngcukaitobi, the lawyers’ organisations Nadel and the BLA, AgriSA, Khoisan leaders and church groupings.

After the workshop, Parlaiment’s legal services will brief the committee, after which draft legislation will be produced. Although the deadline for the committee finishing its work is 31 March, Motshekga said is should not allow deadlines to paint it into a corner, and that the end of June next year is probably a better target date to finish the process.

Draft legislation to be completed by June 2020

DA MP Dr Annelie Lotriet expressed surprise at the way Motshekga simply followed his own preferences without consultation, and said the DA would, for a start, definitely add more names to the workshop input to strengthen it and make it more representative.

Her fellow DA MP Adv. Glynnis Breytenbach immediately added the names of former President Kgalema Motlanthe and Adv. Wim Trengove, adding that there were more to come.

The Freedom Front Plus’ Dr Corne Mulder said he disagreed with Motshekga’s summation of the current situation, but agreed that a slower and more thoughtful, thorough approach was preferable. In this he was supported by IFP MP Inkosi Elphas Buthelezi.

EFF Chief Whip Floyd Shivambu, however, did not agree with this approach at all. He said too much time was being wasted intellectualising on issues and holding workshops when all that had to be done was decide on the exact wording of the constitutional amendment which the ad hoc committee was bound to implement.

On behalf of the ANC, its MP Mandla Mandela agreed with the slower approach, saying that it was key to the essence of South African democracy that all voices be heard and that the process followed be above reproach.

The committee then adjourned and will now propose names for those experts to be invited to brief it in the workshop planned for the near future.


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Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

The UK Has Agreed to a Post-Brexit Trade Deal with South Africa and Other Countries

Britain has agreed a deal with six southern African countries including South Africa, the continent’s most developed economy, that will ensure continuity of trade conditions after Brexit, the British High Commission in South Africa said on Wednesday.

Political turmoil in the United Kingdom has generated uncertainty over how, when and even if the country will withdraw from the European Union. Its current exit date is set for October 31.

But while the situation has left the future trade relationship between Britain and the EU in doubt, London has been working to minimise the impact of Brexit on other trading partners.

Britain initialled an Economic Partnership Agreement with the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) – comprising South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, and eSwatini (formerly known as Swaziland) – and Mozambique on Tuesday.

“This trade agreement, once it is signed and takes effect, will allow businesses to keep trading after Brexit without any additional barriers,” Britain’s International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said in a statement.

The agreement is still subject to final checks. But once signed formally, it will mirror the trade conditions the southern African nations currently enjoy with the EU.

Trade between Britain and the six countries was worth 9.7 billion pounds ($12 billion) last year, with machinery and motor vehicles topping British exports to the region. The UK meanwhile imported some 547 million pounds worth of edible fruit and nuts.

Britain has already signed trade continuity agreements with countries accounting for 89 billion pounds of its external trade.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson says Britain must leave the EU on October 31, but parliament has passed a law compelling him to ask Brussels to delay Brexit until 2020 unless he can strike a divorce deal. Johnson says he will not request an extension.


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Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: Adrian Pingstone [1], [2].

Nigeria to Repatriate 600 Citizens from South Africa, in the Midst of Xenophobic Violence in SA

Nigeria will repatriate about 600 citizens from South Africa this week following a wave of xenophobic violence that caused tensions between the countries, a Nigerian diplomat said Monday.

South Africa’s financial capital Johannesburg and surrounding areas were rocked by a surge of deadly attacks against foreigners this week, many directed against Nigerian-owned businesses and properties.

“They are about 600 now” due to be flown back, Godwin Adamu, Nigerian Consul General in Johannesburg, told AFP.

Nigerian airline “Air Peace is beginning the airlift by Wednesday, the first flight with 320 Nigerians,” he said. “We will have another one immediately after that.”

At least 12 people were killed in the violence and hundreds of shops destroyed.

Foreign workers are often victims of anti-immigrant sentiment in South Africa – the continent’s second biggest economy after Nigeria – where they compete against locals for jobs, particularly in low-skilled industries.

Update: 12 September 2019

A flight from Johannesburg to Lagos that was arranged to evacuate Nigerians who fear xenophobic attacks in SA was delayed on 11 September, because of problems experienced at check-in.

Prince Ben Okoli, president of the Nigerian Citizens Association SA, said the chartered flight by Nigerian airline Air Peace was due to leave with the first batch of Nigerians at 9.10am on Wednesday.

“However, a number of people were singled out by immigration as they were about to board the flight. This led to a delay in the flight leaving SA. The Nigerian foreign affairs ministry said on Wednesday that 649 Nigerian nationals had registered with Nigerian missions in SA for the free flight offer.

Okoli said the consulate-general had promised to issue travel documents free of charge to those who were without valid documents after they had been authenticated by Nigerian authorities to be from that country.

He said that following the maiden flight out of Johannesburg, other flights would be arranged to take “in distress” Nigerians out of SA.


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Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: Anna Zvereva [1], [2].

Protests Against Gender-Based Violence in South Africa Continue

Protests against the severe state of gender-based violence in South Africa are continuing. Many citizens are taking to the streets – in their own areas, alongside main transit routs, at universities, or in front of Parliament in Cape Town – to speak out against violence by men, against women, that has become the norm in South Africa.

Some are advocating for criminal justice reform, such as no bail for sex offenders, a public sex offender registry, and lifetime sentences for gender-based violence offenders. Some are even advocating for the death penalty to be written into law. Others’ main concern is that all men recognize there is a problem, and speak out against it, even if they have not committed acts of violence themselves. Many feel that men who keep quiet, instead of educating themselves about the situation and shaming those who do ill, are complicit.

The situation

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside parliament in Cape Town on Thursday to register their voices against gender-based violence, after a University of Cape Town student, Uyinene Mrwetyana was found dead this week after she went missing.

Police recorded 177,620 reported crimes against women, 36,731 sexual offences, including rape, assault and the murder of 2,930 South African women, according to the SAPS annual report in the 2017/2018 financial year.

Many women feel unsafe when walking alone (or even in groups) on the street, going to the bathroom, declining advances by men when at a bar, attending parties, or even just going about their business in the workplace or at school. All this, while many men are oblivious to the situation, and privileged in their feeling safe while doing the exact same things.

Amnesty International comments

Human rights’ group Amnesty International said on Thursday that gender-based violence in South Africa had reached “alarming levels”.

The organisation’s executive director for South Africa, Shenilla Mohamed, made the statement in response to a speech given earlier in the day by president Cyril Ramaphosa in which he addressed the country’s gender-based violence (GBV) and femicide rates, following a spate of brutal incidents that left many in the country incensed.

“Gender-based violence has reached undeniably alarming levels in South Africa. It is absolutely unacceptable that women feel they have to watch what they wear in public and be careful about where they are seen socializing, for fear that they may face violent reprisals including rape or even death,” said Mohamed.

“The time for sloganeering and politicking has passed. President Cyril Ramaphosa must now translate into action his vow that ‘enough is enough’. It’s nothing short of a national emergency that femicide and rape rates are increasing countrywide, and the government must act decisively to tackle these issues.”

According to Mohamed, decisive action would entail appropriate training for police officers, to enable them to “sensitively and objectively” investigate incidents of GBV and domestic violence.

“In order to ensure alleged offenders are brought to justice, the government must also ensure that gender-based violence is taken seriously at every level of the justice system, including by challenging discriminatory stereotypes about victims and survivors.

“However, calls to bring back the death penalty, by some in society, are misguided and will not solve this problem. The death penalty is a symptom of a culture of violence not a solution to it, and there is no credible evidence that it has a greater deterrent effect on crime than a prison term.

“The government would do better to channel its resources to ensure the effective administration of justice through proper investigations into incidents of gender-based violence and fair trials for those accused of the crimes.”

UCT students crowdfund to retaliate

A group of UCT students, lead by Samantha Perkins and Zoar Lewis has launched a crowdfunding campaign on BackaBuddy to stand up against gender-based violence in South Africa.

In the wake of a very dark period in South Africa’s history, the initiative aims to honour Uyinene Mrwetyana, Jesse Hess, Leighandre Jegels, Lynette Volschenk, Meghan Cremer and others who have lost their lives due to senseless acts of violence this year.

“We currently face what’s akin to a war against women in South Africa. Recent events have demonstrated that women are not at liberty to go anywhere without having to fear for their lives – albeit to, from or at the grocery store, campus, a club, a pre-school, the post office, or even one’s own home. It has been clearly illustrated that there simply is NO safe place for the women of this country,” says spokesperson and law student, Perkins.

“This is the breaking point, the ‘enough is enough’ moment, the time to stand up and say that we WILL NOT tolerate this any longer. We have to deal with this culture of violence against women that is so deeply entranced within our society,” says Philosophy and English Literature, student Nomazwi Nkoane.

In retaliation to the 11% increase in murders and violent attacks against women in South Africa, the #IWillNotBeNext initiative has been launched on donations based crowdfunding platform, BackaBuddy.

Funds raised will be used to purchase and distribute a minimum of 1400 units of pepper spray to female students at the University of Cape Town.

“It is in our collective best interest to address this sickness that exists in our country, so in addition, we ask that you continue the conversation and help us keep this narrative alive. Enough is enough,” says Perkins.

In less than 24 hours, the campaign has raised a total of R44,523.72 towards the fundraising target of R100,000.

“If overfunded, we hope to benefit as many tertiary education institutions as possible. It is our hope that this will at least make a small difference to the safety of women in the interim before Government decides to initiate serious efforts to solve this deep structural issue within our society,” says Perkins.

Support this campaign, by making a donation on BackaBuddy, by clicking here.

26 Vice-chancellors from SA universities to meet with the President on September 13

Vice-Chancellors at all 26 universities have called for a meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa to discuss the scourge of gender-based violence.

“All 26 Vice-Chancellors will engage the Presidency by Friday the 13th of September, with the view of registering our anger and developing a plan of action for addressing the scourge at the universities,” Universities South Africa spokesperson Mateboho Green explained.

She said universities had agency and much to contribute to transforming the culture that produced this form of “cowardly violence”.

“Our people are angry – angry about the violent abuse of women that happens daily, angry about not being heard, angry about the irrational violence that robs people of their lives, angry about the lawlessness in our country, angry about the wanton destruction of infrastructure and angry about the empty promises and lack of political leadership on these matters,” said Green.

“We have every right to be angry. At the same time, we cannot allow our anger to spill over in a way which reduces us to lawlessness or advances further harm.”

Green believed there were political forces at play who were keen to manipulate the national tragedy for their own agendas “both within and beyond the academic sector, regardless of the rules of universities or the law of the land”.

“Universities South Africa and its members have a zero tolerance approach to gender based harm and progressive policies are in place to ensure that perpetrators are dealt with decisively.

“All complaints of gender-based harm should be referred to the respective Gender Equity Offices at the universities who have committed to investigating all complaints expeditiously.”

The President speaks, but many say his words are not enough

President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a host of measures against gender-based violence in the wake of protests against the increasing rate of rape and femicide in SA.

After thousands marched to demand that he act, Ramaphosa told the nation the government would overhaul and modernize the national sex-offender register and he would ask parliament to consider amending the legislation to make the register public.

Sonke Gender Justice, a gender rights group, has questioned whether it will amount to any real changes.

During last night’s address, the president described the recent deaths of Uyinene Mrwetyana, Jesse Hess, Leighandré Jegels as well as the scores of other women and children as a “crime against our common humanity” and a “national emergency”.

While saying he was appalled by the violence, Ramaphosa claimed that there has been progress on the implementation of decisions which were taken at last year’s summit on gender-based violence.

He cited the review of laws on domestic violence and sexual offences, and said there will be efforts to “prioritize the needs and interests of survivors”, while boasting the opening of 92 dedicated sexual offences courts since 2013 and plans for a further 11 in this financial year.

He also promised an overhaul of the the sexual offenders register, promising that parliament will be asked to consider amending legislation to make the register public, while also proposing harsher minimum sentences for gender-based crimes, and an instruction to the state to oppose bail and parole applications for those guilty of sexual offences.

“Violence against women is not a women’s problem. It is not a problem of what a woman said or did, what a woman was wearing or where she was walking. Violence against women is a men’s problem. It is men who rape and kill women,” Ramaphosa said.

“There is therefore an obligation of men of our country to act to end such behavior and such crimes. As men, let us speak out. We must not look away. We must face gender-based violence head on.”

He also promised re-opening of all gender-based crimes that have been irregularly closed or not investigated, while promising increased protection for the LGBT+ community.

Nonhlanhla Skosana, community education and mobilization unit manager at Sonke Gender Justice lauded the president for “making all the right noises” but bringing “nothing new” to the table.

“He said nothing new,” she said after his address last night, citing the lack of implementation of resolutions taken during previous engagement regarding the scourge of gender-based violence countrywide.

“He talked during last year’s Gender-Based Violence summit. He talked during the ANC manifesto launch, and he generally talks the right language, but what we need is implementation and funding.”

Skosana questioned the effectiveness of the sexual offences courts, saying they are under-resourced, while Thuthuzela Care Centre, an organisation that caters for survivors of sexual and domestic abuse, with 54 branches across the country, is facing a financial crisis, leaving them unable to render services.

She mentioned that there is a need for at least R42 billion to ensure the gender-based violence interventions run smoothly.

While Ramaphosa last night said the finance ministry would be instructed to make sure funding is available for this, she questioned why little has been done until now.


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Sources: [1], [2], [3], [4], [5]. Image sources: [1], [2].

Want to Know Which South African Gym to Choose? Here’s a Membership Comparison

First off, the most important thing is that you’re thinking of exercising. It’s a known fact that even regular, moderate cardio exercise can go a long way towards heart health, among other things. However, it’s not to say that the best way to work out is by joining a gym. Many gyms may be making lots of money from people who join and barely ever (or never) go to gym. Sometimes we lock ourselves into gym contracts as part of an aspiration, when actually another method of exercising would have been more appropriate.

So, before reading the below price comparison, consider going for a run around your own neighborhood, walking your dog, going for weekend hikes (along safe trails), or investing in weight lifting equipment or a treadmill to keep at home. That way, you avoid paying for the overheads and profit of South African gym companies.

Viva Gym (link)

Viva gyms are currently in four major cities: Cape Town, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and Pretoria.

They have a single session drop-in option and 2 contract options: monthly and yearly.

The single-session drop-in fee is R100 and perfect should you only want to train for one-day or have your friends pop in for a bro sesh with you.

The month to month contract option eliminates the hassle of having to commit to a long term contract.

The yearly contract has a 12-month commitment and then rolls into a monthly membership

Both the contracts require that you pay a joining fee. For the monthly contract, this ranges from R330 – R350 depending on the gym.

For the 12 month membership, the joining fee is R260 – R290.

Monthly contracts are in the region of R329 – R349 and yearly contracts range from R259 – R289.

Zone Fitness (link)

Zone Fitness membership options range from R200 – R600.

Their joining fees are between R50 – R100 and the access cards cost R50.

A 12-month contract is R250 per month and their 24-month local membership with access to a single club is R225. Should you want a Super Club membership, this will set you back R299 per month.

Planet Fitness (link)

Planet Fitness has four different membership options.

Their joining fees range from R100 – R300.

Just Gym is their value gym group which offers members all the offerings of Planet Fitness, without the trimmings.

There are differences in class offerings as well.

A Just Gym membership starts at R199 whereas the Planet Fitness membersships vary depending on the area of the gym. The lowest membership begins at R399 and escalates to R899.

Should you want national access, your joining fee will be R600 with a monthly rate of R999.

Platinum members will be charged an R900 joining fee and a monthly fee of R1199.

Virgin Active (link)

Virgin Active have two clubs: Health Clubs and Collection Clubs.

The Health Clubs are their standard clubs whilst their Collections Clubs feature a lot more bells and whistles.

There are a number of membership options available:

  • Virgin Active Off-Peak Health Club membership: *R240 – R750 per month.
  • Virgin Active Health Club membership: *R270 – R995 per month
  • Virgin Active Health Club Premier Select membe​rship: *R640 – R780 per month
  • Virgin Active Premier membership: *R890 – R1,095 per month
  • The classic collection membership will cost you *R1,500 – R2,350 per month.


Some South African medical aid schemes offer discounts for memberships to certain gyms, so it is a good idea to call yours and find out if that applies. Also, it’s a good idea to call the gym you are considering to find out what equipment and facilities they have on site, to avoid signing up and discovering that your gym can’t cater to your specific needs. Ultimately, the most important thing, whether you go to a gym, or choose some other method, is that you’re exercising consistently.


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Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: Stage 7 Photography [1], [2].