Parliament’s Constitutional Review Committee faces a daunting task of nation-wide public consultation on the proposed expropriation of land without compensation.

The committee has been tasked to investigate amending Section 25 of the Constitution to expropriate land without compensation.

This follows the resolution passed in the National Assembly this week.

The motion for the expropriation of land without compensation was the proposal of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

A few hours before the debate the ANC in Parliament said it would support the substance of the EFF Motion but with amendments.

ANC Caucus Spokesperson Nonceba Mhlauli says: “The ANC caucus supports the substance of the motion of land expropriation without compensation as per the resolution of the 54th National Congress.”

“The ANC will however be tabling an amendment to the motion as there is the current aspect of the motion that the ANC does not agree with. The current proposal is calling for an Ad hoc Committee to be established by Parliament. And as the ANC we are saying that currently there are mechanisms in parliament to look at such proposals.”

Just before the debate, Democratic Alliance (DA) Chief Whip John Steenhuisen said they would not support the EFF motion nor will it support the ANC’s amendments to the motion.

“We certainly will not support the motion in its current form; the fundamental diagnoses is wrong by both the ANC and the EFF. The EFF obviously is using this as a way to make life uncomfortable for the ANC.”

“The ANC uses this as get out of jail free card because they can simply use it to explain a way why there has been a rank failure of the ANC to conduct meaningful land reform. And to cover their failings they are going to blame the constitution.”

The debate on the EFF motion went as planned on Tuesday afternoon, the same day when the founding father of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) Robert Sobukwe died 40 years ago.

Julius Malema says: “We want to say to the ANC, this is an opportune moment since you have agreed to your conference to amend the constitution… anyone who says we can expropriate land without compensation without amending the constitution, that person is misleading us, because if that was the case, the ANC would have long expropriated this land without compensation.”

The ANC amended the EFF motion in the House. It was passed with over 240 votes. All parties except the DA, COPE, FF-Plus and ACDP supported the motion.

The PAC which has on seat in Parliament was not in the House when the motion was debated and passed.

This is because PAC Leader Luthando Mbinda was in the Eastern Cape to attend various activities for the commemoration of Robert Sobukwe.

Mbinda says the passing of the resolution on land expropriation was the best honour for the PAC founding father.

“As the Pan African Congress of Azania, we really appreciate the position that has been taken by the African parties in particular in Parliament on Tuesday, because Tuesday was the 40th anniversary of the founder of the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, so there was no other way to honor him.”

These sentiments are also shared by APC leader Themba Godi who says there is not point of return on

“Well the 27th of February this year was indeed a very wonderful year. Because  not only were we remembering 40 years of Robert Sobukwe, but on that day  for the first time in the history we saw how black solidarity was displayed for the first time, where all black parties united to agree on beginning  mechanisms for the return of the land.”

The King of the Bapedi -ba-Marota nation in Limpopo Kenneth Kgagudi Sekhukhune says there is no need to fear the unknown when it comes to the expropriation of land without compensation.

“For anyone that has a sharp mind and good look for the future, it’s just very good, because they are not just going to take. They are going to replace it with something that will make you maybe understand the whole thing.”

Another leader Prince Jacobus Titus who says he represents the Bushmen in Cape Town welcomes the developments on expropriation.

“This is long overdue but we will not bring fear to the people, because fear is not a Godly thing. So I think this is the right thing for government to start now. I want to see that the government must give back what belong to us.”

When he addressed the House of Traditional Leaders in Parliament on Thursday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said land grabs will not be allowed.

“It is a question that we will continue to handle with care and responsibility as the government. There will be no small and grab of land in our country. I would like to appeal to all our people to desist from driving fear in the hearts of our people about this matter.”

The Freedom Front Plus (FF+) leader Pieter Groenewalt which rejects expropriation without compensation says his party will approach the international community.

“Of course the Freedom Front Plus is opposed to these amendments. We say it will be negative for the economic growth in South Africa, because the mere acceptance of the principle of expropriation without compensation will potentially let investors think twice before investing in South Africa. We will contact different role players.”

The Agricultural Business Chamber which represents all the financial business in the agricultural sector says expropriation of land and without compensation will have a huge impact on the sector.

Its CEO John Purchase says the agricultural debt is more than R160-billion.

“The debt is held by the commercial banks and also Land bank. Most of those debts are also co-lateralised with the value of the land and if you lose the value of the land through expropriation without compensation, the financial institutions are going to sit with a massive headache as is obvious.”

Black First Land First Leader Andile Mnxgitama welcomes the resolution but says is should not have referred the process to the Constitutional Review committee.

The Constitutional Review Committee which consists of member of the National Assembly and the NCOP is expected to kick- start the process on the proposed expropriation of land without compensation within the next week.

Committee Co-Chairperson Vincent Smith says:”We envisage starting as soon as next week… will try and develop a programme and a business plan. Once we have agreed the programme and business plan we will sent it to the powers that be for a budget. And it’s only once we have received the budget that on the business plan we are talking about.”

Smith says process it is going to be huge task that would require Parliament going to the people instead of the people coming to parliament.

The National Assembly resolution expects the Constitutional Review Committee to report back to it by the end of August.

 

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