Western Cape government rejects expropriation, says it would be bad for the economy
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Cape Town - The provincial government has rejected the Constitution 18th Amendment Bill, 2021, which seeks to amend the Constitution to allow for expropriation without compensation, and said if passed, the bill would strip citizens of rights and cause economic chaos.
Addressing a digital news conference, Premier Alan Winde and the province’s leader of government business, Ivan Meyer, said the provincial executive committee discussed the bill last week and agreed to oppose it.
“The Constitution doesn’t stop us from pursuing expropriation without compensation, and it doesn’t say that compensation is required,” said Winde.
“Instead, it balances the right to property against our broader constitutional values. It rightfully asks us to look at the circumstances where expropriation with substantially reduced compensation, or even no compensation, are justifiable and fair. Further amendments to the Constitution and legislation are simply not necessary,” he said.
Winde said the bill aims to further centralise power to the state by introducing the concept of state custodianship and that, in a country impacted severely by corruption and maladministration, further centralising powers to that level of government would be detrimental.
Meyer said: “It is well established that land distribution in South Africa is skewed and that this threatens to destabilise our society.
“It is not the existing policy that has failed to create meaningful land reform, but rather a lack of political will, poor implementation, corruption and insufficient resources.
“The amendment bill or proposed national legislation will not create meaningful land reform, but rather risk exposing us to unintended spillover consequences.”
Provincial leader of the opposition Cameron Dugmore (ANC) accused the provincial government of being out to create panic.
“We are not surprised as the DA and this provincial government has always been against land redistribution and against security of tenure for farmworkers.
“In essence, the DA and Premier Winde are rejecting what President Ramaphosa said when he stated that colonial and apartheid land dispossession were the original sin in our country’s history. The Expropriation Bill, once law, will assist in releasing land where needed.
“We are convinced that provincial and district land councils could assist with reaching consensus on how to correct the original sin. All of us must accept the responsibility to do so, together,” said Dugmore.
He said he would be writing to each mayor in the province asking for a meeting to discuss the land audit of national, provincial, municipal, parastatal and well-located private land.
EFF provincial chairperson Melikhaya Xego said the party was of the view that the bill was premature at this stage.
“At the moment we are not supporting the bill in its current format. We reject the fact that the ANC still wants compensation as a default position for expropriation. Our position is that land is a common heritage of all, and the people as a whole must own it, under the custodianship of the state. However, the ANC rejects this proposition,” said Xego.