Call for views on land expropriation bill changes

Call for views on land expropriation bill changes
Parliament has called on the public to comment on the draft bill which is aimed at amending the Constitution to provide for the expropriation of land without compensation.

The public have to submit written submissions no later than January 31.

The bill will be advertised in the Government Gazette this week after parties in the ad hoc committee mandated to amend the Constitution to allow expropriation without compensation agreed to publish the version presented earlier by the parliamentary legal services.

This after a push by Freedom Front Plus’s Corne Mulder after only the ANC made a technical submission to the committee.

“If you want to gazette, we can gazette what was brought by legal services on Tuesday and nothing else,” he said.

Mulder was seconded by the DA’s Glynis Breytenbach and the ANC’s Regina Lesoma.

Committee chairperson Mathole Motshekga said Mulder’s proposal was consistent with their view that “this process is continuous and parties who still want to make further submissions will not be precluded from doing so”.

Motshekga said they listened to everybody and all political parties.

“We must accept that everybody and all political parties have an important contribution to make,” he said.

In its memorandum, the bill says the amendment will provide that the right to property be limited in such a way that where land is expropriated for land reform, the amount of compensation payable may be nil.

It also said the amendment would further clarify that such is legitimate option for land reform to address historic wrongs caused by the arbitrary dispossession of land.

This was to ensure equitable access to land and further empower the majority of South Africans to be productive participants in ownership, food security and agricultural reform programmes.

The bill says expropriation should take place subject to compensation either agreed to by those affected or decided or approved by a court.

The bill has a subsection which provides for national legislation to set out specific circumstances where a court may determine that the amount of compensation is nil.

The opposition parties have voiced their opposition to inclusion of the circumstances in which expropriation without compensation in the national legislation instead of the constitution.

Breytenbach said they have made a list of things they think should be in the amendment.

“We want to see the list in this amendment not in the national legislation. If we do not see it, it will render this amendment vague and will open to constitutional attack,”she said

African Christian Democratic Party’s Steve Swart echoed her sentiments, saying they were on record that they opposed expropriation of property without compensation.

The committee intends to finalise its mandate by March 31.

Public submissions and enquiries must be directed to Vhonani Ramaano, 90 Plein Street, Cape Town, 8000 or email [email protected]

Politics Hub