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Sat Jul 02 07:36:00 CAT 2016

Expropriation Bill passed

Jan-Jan Joubert | 24 February, 2016 06:25
Minister of Public Works Thulas Nxesi said the legislation that made provision for the state to deprive citizens of land, was foreseen in section 25 of the constitution. File photo

Parliament took a huge step towards restoration of land rights when it passed the long-awaited Expropriation Bill yesterday.

The bill will now be debated by the National Council of Provinces.

Minister of Public Works Thulas Nxesi said the legislation that made provision for the state to deprive citizens of land, was foreseen in section 25 of the constitution.

He said landowners whose property was expropriated would be compensated, with the courts having the final say on the amount.

The bill provides for the expropriation of land for a public purpose, such as building a road or a dam, or erecting a power line, or for land reform.

ANC MP Freddie Adams said the bill righted big wrongs of the past, including the forced removal of inhabitants of District Six, in Cape Town.

The bill was supported by the ANC, AIC, IFP and NFP, and was opposed - for very different reasons - by the DA, the EFF, the UDM, the Freedom Front Plus and the ACDP.

DA MP Patricia Kopane said the legislation was poorly drafted and left too much uncertainty, which would one day come back to haunt the country.

She said among her party's concerns were the lack of clarity as to when payment would be made for expropriated land, and the adverse effect the enactment of the bill would have on foreign direct investment.

EFF MP Marshall Dlamini said his party favoured expropriation without compensation because the land had been stolen from blacks.

UDM MP Mncedisi Filtane said the bill would fail constitutional tests, and did not do enough to deal with land dispossession before 1913.

The Freedom Front Plus said the bill was a danger to all landowners, and the ACDP claimed that the legal processes entailed were too expensive for most South Africans to afford.

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