Land Expropriation: Review committee report to be debated in Parliament

On Tuesday, both Houses of Parliament are expected to consider the joint constitutional review committee’s (CRC) report which recommends that section 25 of the Constitution be amended to allow land expropriation without compensation.

This, after the Western Cape high court dismissed AfriForum’s urgent interdict application on Friday, which was aimed at preventing MPs from voting on the report.

A heated debate is expected. The land question is an emotive issue and parties either vociferously support or oppose expropriation without compensation.

The ANC, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), National Freedom Party and the United Democratic Movement support the adoption of the report, while the Democratic Alliance (DA), Inkatha Freedom Party, Freedom Front Plus, Congress of the People and the African Christian Democratic Party are opposing it.

The parties opposing an amendment are likely to raise the matter of the process the committee followed in dealing with the hundreds of thousands of written submissions it received.

But it is highly likely that the report will be adopted.

Parliament will then instruct a committee to draft a proposed amendment. This will entail a new public participation process. This must then be adopted by Parliament with a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly and six out of the nine provinces supporting it in the National Council of Provinces.

Next steps

The DA is expected to brief the media on the party’s next steps in the constitutional review process on Tuesday, shortly before the sittings of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces.

The committee recommends that “section 25 of the Constitution must be amended to make explicit that which is implicit in the Constitution with regards to expropriation of land without compensation as a legitimate option for land reform so as to address the historic wrongs caused by the arbitrary dispossession of land and, in so doing, ensure equitable access to land and further empower the majority of South Africans to be productive participants in ownership, food security and agricultural reform programmes”.

This is the wording of the recommendation the ANC drafted, which was proposed by the EFF in the CRC’s last meeting on November 15.

Currently, section 25 of the Constitution says the following must be taken into consideration in determining “just and equitable” payment, which reflects “an equitable balance between the public interest and the interests of those affected”:

  • The current use of the property
  • The history of the acquisition and use of the property
  • The market value of the property
  • The extent of direct state investment and subsidy in the acquisition and beneficial capital improvement of the property, and
  • The purpose of the expropriation.

As things stand, these provisions will be expanded to include that land can be expropriated without compensation.

AfriForum has initiated an application to have the report reviewed and set aside, which will go ahead despite Friday’s ruling.

Parties opposed to an amendment can also ask the court to review the process. — News24

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Jan Gerber
Jan Gerber
Journalist & photographer. Parliamentary reporter for News24
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