Expropriation Bill debate: Put your property where your mouth is, says Cape MEC
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Cape Town - A debate in the legislature on the proposed amendment to Section 25 of the Constitution to pave way for the introduction of the Expropriation Bill, which is in the national parliament, took a turn when Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer dared any member of the legislature in support of the bill to surrender their properties to the state.
Meyer was responding to the debate on Thursday which was brought by leader of the opposition Cameron Dugmore (ANC) on the importance of the amendment to section 25 of the Constitution, and how helpful expropriation without compensation (EWC) would be in addressing the patterns of land ownership in the Western Cape.
“I now call on all members in this House who support EWC, to offer their own properties via the Speaker of this House, by the end of this debate to the national Department of Land Affairs, so that the state becomes the custodian of all your properties,” dared Meyer.
“Let us test your commitment to your statements in support of EWC. Put your money and your property where your mouth is,” Meyer said.
Dugmore said the patterns of urban land ownership in the Western Cape were a ticking time bomb.
“We have a situation where white South Africans own 70.7% of such land, while Coloured South Africans own only 10.7%, Indians 8% and Africans 3.5%. The patterns are even worse when it comes to agricultural land.
“These patterns of land ownership simply cannot go on as they have in the last twenty-seven years,” Dugmore said.
Good party secretary general Brett Herron said expropriation of land without compensation is already the law in South Africa and that the proposed section 25 amendment is unnecessary and divisive.
“While the DA threatens to challenge, in the courts, expropriation with nil compensation, the Constitutional Court already interpreted the Constitution, as far back as 2002, as making provision for expropriation without compensation.
“It is unfortunate that land reform, so urgent and so necessary, has been hijacked as a tool for political gain, by those claiming its being retarded by the constitution, by those who have used the debate to hide their failings, and by those, who claim to be constitutionalists, who have whipped up unnecessary anxiety and fear based on lies,” Herron said.
MPL Peter Marais (FF Plus) said the EWC was a campaign of the ANC and the EFF and only the politically naive would support it. He warned of food insecurity, foreign disinvestment and possible civil unrest if the amendment was passed.
Standing Committee on Agriculture chairperson Andricus van der Westhuizen (DA) said the importance of ownership of land, as a factor that would determine one’s prospects in life, has decreased significantly.
“In a modern economy, land is often a burden. More often than not land requires extreme capital investments. In short, ownership of land is not always an unqualified blessing.
“That is why 90% of beneficiaries of land restitution, when given the choice, have chosen to receive monetary compensations instead of land. Under these circumstances, the ownership of land from a racial perspective, will remain skewed.”
ANC provincial spokesperson for Agriculture Pat Marran said: “This Western Cape government claims to have the best land reform projects in the country. Yet they have not bought one single piece of land to assist land reform.
“Every single piece of land in the province bought for land reform, has been bought by the national government through their Land Redistribution for Agriculture Development (LRAD) programme, Equity Schemes programme or their Proactive Land Acquisition Strategy (PLAS) programme.”