/ 15 June 2018

Gauteng prepares to expropriate privately owned land without compensation

David Makhura said expropriation without compensation would extend to abandoned buildings.
David Makhura said expropriation without compensation would extend to abandoned buildings.

The Gauteng government wants to “immediately” expropriate without compensation privately owned land lying idle.

Premier David Makhura said the province was completing an audit of all unused privately owned land to test the Constitution instead of waiting on the parliamentary process currently reviewing the property rights clause of the Constitution.

“There are tracts of land, others just being used for speculation, other land parcels have been abandoned by landlords living overseas waiting for one day to sell the land to developers at huge profits.

READ MORE: ANC to use current Constitution to test land expropriation without compensation

“We can expropriate land without compensation with immediate effect to test the Constitution. Those that say the Constitution does allow expropriation for public purposes, this is the time,” Makhura said in a long and wide-ranging interview with News24.

He said expropriated land would then be given to residents who want to use it for building houses, food production and industrialisation.

He has established a task team to identify all privately owned land lying idle. The government has already concluded an audit on land owned by the state.

Expropriation of abandoned buildings

Makhura said he had asked all municipalities to comply with the audit of private land.

Three municipalities in the province are governed by the DA and when asked if all mayors were on board with expropriation without compensation, Makhura said: “They may not agree to expropriation of particular land parcels but they are under tremendous pressure. People need housing, people need access to land.”

In March, Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba told News24 that he wanted to expropriate buildings in the CBD, despite the fact that his party, the DA, rejecting expropriation without compensation in Parliament.

Makhura said expropriation without compensation would extend to abandoned buildings.

Gauteng’s decision to expropriate land without compensation follows an ANC December resolution.

Last month a historic ANC land summit decided that it was not necessary to amend the Constitution but urged national departments, along with provincial and municipal governments, to go ahead and test section 25 of the Constitution.

‘People need more than title deeds’

Parliament is currently reviewing the Constitution after the ANC amended an EFF resolution on land expropriation in February.

Earlier, Makhura launched a rapid land release programme through which the state will give land to residents who do not depend on free government housing but are ready to build their own houses.

He said providing title deeds was not enough as there was a need for people to increase their assets – and the land was the most valuable.

READ MORE: Makhura announces programme to ease Joburg South land crisis

The rapid land release programme is expected to also help change the apartheid human settlement patterns.

Makhura said the notion supported by the opposition “that all people need are title deeds” was out of touch with the wishes of South Africans who want assets instead.

“They want to own a piece of land, not only for building houses but for business activity,” Makhura said.

The DA has opposed expropriation of land without compensation and instead called for the government to fast-track handing out title deeds. — News24