Invitation: Seminar by Jackie Dugard “Is South Africa’s property clause (Section 25) an obstacle or engine for Socio-Economic Transformation?”

Tuesday, 24 October, 2017 - 13:00

The Student Programme in Law & Society is delighted to welcome on campus its second speaker in a undergraduate seminar series designed to explore interdisciplinary topics in law, culture, society, and justice.


Jackie Dugard


“Is South Africa’s property clause (Section 25) an obstacle or engine for Socio-Economic Transformation?”


During 2017, politicians from an increasingly embattled African National Congress (ANC) government began publicly calling for radical economic transformation. Such calls, however politically cynical and undefined, occur against the devastating reality of widening and persistently racialised socio-economic inequality. Among underlying determinants of inequality, one of the issues that has dominated socio-political discourse in recent years has been unequal access to property and especially land.

 Notwithstanding certain state-led efforts since 1994 to redress access to land and align contested property regimes in the public interest, the white minority continues to own a disproportionately large amount of land. Consequently, land distribution and governance continue to resonate economically, socially, culturally and, increasingly, also politically. At the heart of public discussion over land has been contestation over section 25 of the Constitution, the ‘property clause’, which is widely perceived to be an obstacle to transformation. For example, Black1stLand1st movement’s submission to the Portfolio Committee on Public Works’ public hearings on the Expropriation Bill on 4 August 2015 sets out that ‘Section 25 legalises land theft and legitimises colonialism … Section 25 in its entirety is a yoke around the necks and shackles in the feet and hands of our people. It makes us slaves in our own land’.

 Reflecting an increasingly uneasy bundle of imperatives from Marxist redistribution through liberal protection of property to recognition of African customary land use, section 25’s Janus-like character has given rise to a schizophrenic public discourse in which, at the same time as there are calls to scrap section 25, many poor people and communities are appealing to the government to speed up private property titling processes, and property owners are voicing anxiety about their rights. It is in against this backdrop, and particularly in the context of the Constitution’s transformative objective ‘improve the quality of life of all citizens’ and advance the ‘achievement of equality’, that there is a need to examine the extent to which section 25 is an obstacle or engine for socio-economic transformation in South Africa.


Tuesday, 24th October 2017

1pm to 2pm 


WiSER Seminar room,

6th Floor, Richard Ward Building,

East Campus, Wits University


A light lunch will be served


Jackie Dugard BA (Hons) (Wits), MPhil (Cantab), PhD (Cantab), LLM (Essex), LLB (Wits) - is an associate professor at the School of Law, University of the Witwatersrand, where she lectures Property Law and Jurisprudence. With a background in social sciences and law, Jackie is a human rights activist and scholar, and has published widely on the role of law and courts in social change, as well as on socio-economic rights, access to courts, protest and social movements. Jackie is on the editorial committee of the South African Journal on Human Rights (SAJHR). She was a co-founder and the first executive director (2010-2012) of the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI), where she is currently Chairperson of the Board. Jackie was the founder and first director of the Gender Equity Office (GEO) at the University of the Witwatersrand (2014-2016).