Its with huge disappointment that the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry has learned that the government is to press ahead with changes to the constitution so that it can expropriate land without having to pay for it.
We are also angry because the problem is not the lack of land available for transfer but that the process of land distribution has been so badly mismanaged.
We feared that property rights would be undermined, now President Rhamaposa has confirmed to the world that this is indeed the case. South Africa will pay a heavy price in terms of investment and jobs.
The land problem is also misunderstood. The demand is for urban land near to jobs and opportunities and both the Government and the municipalities have this land and could make much of it available for housing.
In Cape Town the Defence Force is sitting on three disused and underused airfields that are ideally positioned for large housing projects. The Air Force does not need these airfields because it has a modern airport at Langebaan Road, but the people of Cape Town do need this land.
A great deal has been said about the effects of Apartheid spatial planning and how it has disadvantaged the poor but there are three perfect opportunities to correct the problem. The airfields are all within easy commuting range of the central city and the industrial areas and simply making this land available would ignite a building boom the likes of which Cape Town has never seen.
Instead of turning to simple and obvious solutions like making the airfields available for housing, we are now hell bent on changing a constitution that has the admiration of the world to correct a problem which should not exist. It defies belief.
President of the Cape Chamber