December 7 could be D-Day for land expropriation without compensation

18 November 2021 - 17:06
A debate around proposed legislation that would allow for the expropriation of land without compensation is scheduled for December 7. File photo.
A debate around proposed legislation that would allow for the expropriation of land without compensation is scheduled for December 7. File photo.
Image: Reuters

The Constitution 18th Amendment Bill, which provides for expropriation of land without compensation, is scheduled for debate in the National Assembly on December 7.

The National Assembly's programming committee heard on Thursday that a report on the amendment of section 25 of the constitution was ready to be considered by the house.

“I suggest that we diarise that tentatively. We all agree it should be the seventh [of December], before parliament rises — and if there are any changes, we will be advised accordingly,” said National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.

The bill is unlikely to pass in its current form as the EFF, the party that introduced the motion in February 2018, does not support the amendments pushed for by the ANC and which still provide for compensation under certain circumstances.

The EFF is opposed to any compensation when land is expropriated. It also wants the state to have custodianship of all land for redistribution.

The bill says that under certain circumstances when land is expropriated, compensation must be zero.

The ANC, which supports the amendments, has 230 MPs, which is not enough to attain the two-thirds majority (267) required for a constitutional amendment. It needs the DA (84 MPs) or the EFF (44 MPs) to attain this, but both parties have rejected the amendments.

EFF leader Julius Malema confirmed to TimesLIVE on Thursday that the two parties have not found each other on expropriation without compensation, even in the recent coalition talks where the matter was one of the conditions put on the table by the EFF in return for supporting the ANC in hung councils.

The bill proposes an amendment of section 25(2)(b) of the constitution to read: “Subject to compensation, the amount of which and the time and manner of payment of which have either been agreed to by those affected or decided or approved by a court: Provided that where land and any improvements thereon are expropriated for purposes of land reform as contemplated in subsection 8, the amount of compensation may be nil.’’

The ad hoc committee indicated that proposed amendments under subsection 2 on “nil compensation” for expropriated land and any improvements should be read concurrently with subsection 3 of section 25, which makes provision for circumstances under which expropriation of land with zero compensation can take place.

Section 25(3) is amended to read: “The amount of the compensation as contemplated in subsection 2(b), and the time and manner of any payment, must be just and equitable, reflecting an equitable balance between the public interest and the interests of those affected, having regard to all relevant circumstances.

‘‘For the furtherance of land reform, national legislation must, subject to subsections 2 and 3, set out circumstances where the amount of compensation is nil,” proposes the bill.

TimesLIVE


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