Parliament to decide on expropriation without compensation

Cape Town – On Tuesday, the National Assembly will decide whether to proceed with a process to amend the Constitution to make expropriation of land without compensation possible, as the EFF’s motion in this regard is expected to be debated.

The draft resolution, brought by Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema, states that “South Africa has a unique history of brutal dispossession of land from black people by the settler colonial white minority” and continues that this has left an “indelible mark on social, political and economic landscape of the country, and has helped create a society based on exploitation of black people and sustenance of white domination”.

The draft resolution has asked the House to acknowledge that 1994 land reform measures have failed and to recognise that section 25 of the Constitution is “at the centre of the present crisis”. Section 25 is the property clause, which, in its current form, requires the state to pay compensation.

The EFF proposes that an ad hoc committee be established to review and amend section 25 to make it possible for the state to expropriate land in the public interest, without compensation.

This would entail public hearings, where members of the public, academics, policy makers and civil society can present their views on expropriation without compensation.

The committee would, if the EFF’s proposal is accepted, consist of six ANC MPs, two DA MPs, 1 EFF MP and two MPs from other parties.

At its national conference in Johannesburg in December, the ANC accepted a resolution in favour of expropriation without compensation.

“The conference resolved that the ANC should, as a matter of policy, pursue expropriation of land without compensation. This should be pursued without destabilising the agricultural sector, without endangering food security in our country and without undermining economic growth and job creation,” the conference’s declaration reads.

‘Grave historical injustice’

The debate on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) last week, served as a precursor to Tuesday’s debate, with most speakers breaching the subject.

“We will accelerate our land redistribution programme, not only to redress a grave historical injustice, but also to bring more producers into the agricultural sector and to make more land available for cultivation,” Ramaphosa said in his SONA.

He said this would include expropriation without compensation.

During the debate, the EFF supported it, but opposition parties such as the DA, Cope and the Freedom Front Plus did not, while the IFP expressed its concern about the possibility of the expropriation of the Ingonyama Trust land, of which the Zulu king is the trustee.

During Ramaphosa’s reply on the SONA debate, he said it was necessary to heal the divisions of the past, and said Parliament needs to interrogate the statement that the expropriation of land without compensation was incompatible with a flourishing economy, or that it represented a “violation of the spirit” of the Constitution.

“This is a profound responsibility that has been given to our generation. In dealing with this complex matter, we will not make the mistakes that others have made,” Ramaphosa said.

“We will not allow smash-and-grab interventions. That we will not allow.”

The sitting of the National Assembly during which the EFF’s motion will be debated starts at 14:00.