Land expropriation without compensation will end up in the courts, says PAC

18 March 2019 - 20:49
By Andisiwe Makinana
A PAC supporter flies the party's flag. File photo.
Image: MOELETSI MABE A PAC supporter flies the party's flag. File photo.

Expropriating land without compensation will run into serious legal problems, which may take more than 10 years to resolve.

This is according to the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC), which said it felt that not enough had been achieved over the 25 years of democracy in terms of land ownership and redistribution - and that expropriating land without compensation may just deepen the land problems.

PAC president Narius Moloto told the Cape Town Press Club on Monday that a political solution was needed, where the country’s political leadership would engage those who own the land to find a lasting solution.

"Our understanding of the constitution is that when you expropriate, you expropriate someone's property - and that someone has rights and constitutional protection," said Moloto.

"That time our people would be suffering, there will be no solution in sight, the population will be doubling and the crisis will deepen," he added.

Moloto emerged as the interim PAC president last week after the high court in Pretoria forced the party’s leaders - who were laying claim to its presidency - to thrash out an out-of-court settlement, which would allow the Independent Electoral Commission to register the party to take part in the May 8 general elections.

He is now the party’s presidential candidate.

"Land expropriation without compensation cannot fly," he told the press club.

He warned that the affected individuals would fight "tooth and nail" to ensure that it did not happen. He added that expropriation without compensation would face many court challenges. For this reason, the PAC did not believe it would happen in the long term.

Moloto said the country needed a new deal, that would address political and economic problems, to settle the contentious land question.

He bemoaned the land reform process, saying the country was still trapped in the land acts of 1913 and 1936.

"Our people got a raw deal that is not working for them from Codesa [Convention for a Democratic South Africa], particularly on fundamental issues like land. If the status quo is not interrupted, it spells doom for our people.

"They are still poor, they are still unemployed ... what we are offering is a fundamental change to the social and economic issues affecting our people," he said.

Beyond calling for "engagements" on land, it is not clear what else the PAC is offering to address land problems, which it describes as fundamental and a priority to the party.

He said the PAC policy did not focus on white farmers, but on finding a sustainable solution for the future.

"We don’t believe in using the land issue as a political game. It’s a fundamental issue that we need to confront directly for the interests of the dispossessed in the country," he added.