DA slams land expropriation without compensation proposal

The Democratic Alliance has shunned a motion by the Economic Freedom Fighters that proposes Parliament should begin the process of legislating land expropriation without compensation, saying it “undermines” property rights in South Africa.

DA MP Thandeka Mbabama was heckled by EFF and the ANC MPs after she argued against the land reform draft resolution that was tabled in Parliament by the EFF.

Mbabama was responding to the EFF’s proposal in a debate of the motion inside the National Assembly on Tuesday.

“Fellow countrymen, land expropriation without compensation cannot be the solution,” she said.

She acknowledged that black people were “brutally taken from their land” and that the “wounds still run deep”, but said that changing Section 25 of the Constitution would harm South Africa instead of improving the situation of landless people.

Section 25 of the Constitution focuses on property rights in the country, and states that government can only expropriate land if it provides compensation. Mbabama said that should this section of the Constitution be amended, then property rights would be “undermined”.

She also criticised the ANC – who sat to her right, taunting her arguments – for agreeing to land expropriation without compensation, saying the party was attempting to draw attention away from its own errors.

“Only a few months ago members of the right side of the house fully agreed with [our position] … today they have backtracked. What has changed?” she said.

She argued that Section 25 is not hindering land reform in South Africa, but the debate on expropriation without compensation was instead a “way to divert attention from the failures of the ANC in South Africa”.

Mbabama also said that DA initiatives in the Western Cape, where she claims the DA had delivered close to 83 000 title deeds to black farmers since 2009, had provided “dignity” to black farmers.

“Surely this is true economic freedom,” she said, as the EFF jeered her.

Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald also slammed the EFF’s proposal, asking: “What do you want with the land?”

Groenewald then went on seemingly to warn: “If you continue with this course, there will be unforeseen consequences …”

So far, the Inkatha Freedom Front and the National Freedom Party have agreed that land should be expropriated without compensation. NFP MP Shaik Emam said that the proposal should be implemented with urgency, saying: “If you buy stolen goods, you are a criminal.”

“What is the delay? Let’s go out there and expropriate,” Emam said.

He went on to refer to fire censure at the DA for their stance on the debate.

“I’m not surprised by my colleagues on the left here, because in a very short time they went from being oppressed to being the oppressors,” he said.

ANC MP Gugile Nkwinti, meanwhile, said that the ruling party would “unequivocally” support the motion, but disagreed with the EFF’s model to implement land expropriation without compensation.

“There’s no doubt about it, land will be expropriated without compensation. The process will be done in a way that improves agriculture and food security,” he said.

The EFF has proposed that Parliament establish an ad hoc committee which will then review and amend section 25 of the Constitution after hearing submissions from members of the public, policy expert, academics and civil society.

EFF leader Julius Malema opened the debate inside the House on Tuesday, delivering a history of how black South Africans were robbed of their land by colonialists such as Jan van Riebeeck.

“The time for reconciliation is over, now is the time for justice. If the grandchildren of Jan van Riebeeck have not understood that we need our land back then they have failed to receive the gift of humanity,” he said. 

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Raeesa Pather
Raeesa Pather
Ra’eesa Pather is a Cape Town-based general news and features journalist.

Related stories

Tax, wage bill, debt, pandemic: Mboweni’s tightrope budget policy statement

The finance minister has to close the jaws of the hippo and he’s likely to do this by tightening the country’s belt, again.

Does the Expropriation Bill muddy the land question even further?

Land ownership and its equitable distribution has floundered. Changes to a section of the constitution and the expropriation act are now before parliament, but do they offer any solution?

Johannesburg cannot police its future

South Africa’s biggest city is ground zero for debates about the long-term effectiveness and constitutionality of militarised urban policing and how we imagine the post-Covid city

Toxic power struggle hits public works

With infighting and allegations of corruption and poor planning, the department’s top management looks like a scene from ‘Survivor’

Fix economy: Cut, build, tax

Expert panel presents a range of solutions to the economic crisis that include cost cutting, infrastructure spending and a solidarity levy

ANC’s rogue deployees revealed

Despite 6 300 ANC cadres working in government, the party’s integrity committee has done little to deal with its accused members

Subscribers only

The shame of 40 000 missing education certificates

Graduates are being left in the lurch by a higher education department that is simply unable to deliver the crucial certificates proving their qualifications - in some cases dating back to 1992

The living nightmare of environmental activists who protest mine expansion

Last week Fikile Ntshangase was gunned down as activists fight mining company Tendele’s expansions. Community members tell the M&G about the ‘kill lists’ and the dread they live with every day

More top stories

Joe Biden’s debate guests run the only Zimbabwean restaurant in...

A Zimbabwean restaurant feeding people in need formed an unlikely addition to Joe Biden’s election campaign

The high road is in harm reduction

While the restriction of movement curtailed the health services for people who use drugs in some parts of the world, it propelled other countries into finding innovative ways to continue services, a new report reveals

Khaya Sithole: Tsakani Maluleke’s example – and challenge

Shattering the glass ceiling is not enough, the new auditor general must make ‘live’ audits the norm here in SA

State’s wage freeze sparks apoplexy

Public sector unions have cried foul over the government’s plan to freeze wages for three years and have vowed to fight back.

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday