A top British lawyer, whose specialty is international law, has predicted the consequences of a decision by the South African parliament to illegally confiscatelands legitimately acquired by ethnic-European farmers.

“You cannot have land expropriation without compensation. It is illegal under international law. It is contrary to a dozen treaties that South Africa has signed and ratified. As such, it is a principle that is also enshrined in South African domestic law. You cannot change the Constitution, therefore, to make it legal; Treaty law is superior law, it always applies.”

“The proposal, if directed at land held by the white community, would also contravene half a dozen international treaties, notably those condemning apartheid, that South Africa since the ANC took power, has signed and ratified.”

“The same argument applies above, but now with the ironic twist that any such initiative would result in the ANC being condemned under international law for actions that the world would condemn as being racist.”

“So what would be the consequence of a policy of expropriation without compensation in South Africa? Well, as noted, such a policy would be illegal. The international community will immediately take note that South Africa has become a rogue state.”

“What would happen, however, in terms of South Africa’s access to the international markets is of far more concern. South Africa would have signalled that property rights are insecure. That will mean that international investment in South Africa would come to a screeching halt.”

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