Land Expropriation Bill certified as constitutional

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Government says the Land Expropriation Bill has been certified as constitutional by the Chief State Law Adviser which paved the way for it to be gazetted and sent to Parliament for consideration.

The Bill was drafted in consultations that included around 50 000 comments from South Africans along with business, labour and community stakeholders.

President Cyril Ramaphosa says land expropriation without compensation is here to stay: 

Public Works Minister Patricia De Lille was addressing a virtual media conference along with Land Minister Thoko Didiza following a meeting by the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Land Reform, chaired by Deputy President David Mabuza. De Lille says the Bill will bring certainty to investors; thereby increasing investment and growing the economy.

“Government is committed to restitution, redistribution and tenure also as recommended by the panel. The Bill will also bring certainty to South Africans and investors because it clearly outlines how expropriation can be done and on what basis. The legislative certainty is critical as we rebuild our economy and invest in our communities.”

Government says the Land Expropriation Bill provides that in some circumstances, the amount of compensation to be paid for the expropriation of land will be determined by the courts.

De Lille said the Bill brings certainty about how expropriation can be done, but does not replace the separate parliamentary process considering Section 25 of the constitution and expropriation without compensation.

She also outlined the circumstances in which no compensation will be paid.

“The Bill further states it may be just and equitable for no compensation to be paid where land is expropriated in the public interest, where the land is not being used and the owners main purpose is not to develop the land, where an organ of state holds land it is not using for its core function, where an owner has abandoned the land by failing to exercise control over it. When the nature or condition of the property poses a health, safety, or physical risk.”

Agri SA Western Cape not in support of the Bill

Agri Western Cape said in February that it does not fully agree with the amendment of Section 25 of the Constitution to allow for land redistribution and reform. The agricultural union said it had submitted its comments to Parliament.

Chief Executive Officer, Jannie Strydom, said the proposed amendment which will allow for land expropriation without compensation will not fix institutional ineffectiveness such as lack of budgeting and corruption.

“The real problems are a lack of implementation and poor implementation of existing legislation and programs, an insufficient budget and corruption. Agri Western Cape is dedicated to be part of the solution for successful land reform and contribute to a solution-driven land reform policy ensuring increased agricultural production and food security for the Western Cape and South Africa.”