File - National Parliament while the house was voting for the new Speaker. File photo: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)
File - National Parliament while the house was voting for the new Speaker. File photo: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Constitutional amendment on land expropriation nearing completion

By Mayibongwe Maqhina Time of article published Sep 9, 2021

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Parliament is closer to deciding whether the Constitution should be allowed to expropriate land without compensation.

This after the Section 25 Committee adopted its report for tabling to the National Assembly this week.

The committee approved the eighteenth constitutional amendment bill last Friday following the consideration of the second round of written submissions by the public.

The bill provides for circumstances where land can be expropriated for land reform and without no compensation payable.

It is the culmination of a motion made by the EFF in February 2018.

The committee was then tasked to amend the Constitution to make explicit what was implicit in the supreme law with regards to the expropriation of land without compensation as a legitimate option for land reform.

There are doubts whether the proposed bill will obtain the required two-thirds majority considering that the EFF is unhappy with the legislation as it is, while the DA, Freedom Front and some other small parties have opposed the constitutional amendment.

During the committee proceedings, the EFF demanded that the final report reflect their views as a minority party ahead of the parliamentary debate likely to take place after the recess in November.

“The EFF is opposed to this proposed amendment as it appears now so that there is proper debate that is informed by all the deliberations,” the party’s chief whip Floyd Shivambu said.

His request was turned down, and it was indicated that only the minutes would do so.

“The minutes of this meeting today should reflect that Honourable Shivambu had a problem, not in the report,” Freedom Front Plus chief whip Corne Mulder said.

When the report was put up for adoption by the ANC, Shivambu opposed it.

He said it represented a fundamental departure from the resolution of the National Assembly that was taken in February 2018, proposing a constitutional amendment providing for a future land tenure regime with the state as custodian of all land.

“We don’t believe the manner in which the Constitution is amended now is consistent with the principle of having custodianship of all South African land for equal distribution.

“We stand to reject with contempt the proposed and sell out proposal to amend the Constitution in the manner that will not give land to our people,” Shivambu said.

He said the people should decide on land reform and land redistribution if politicians fail to take land do their behalf.

“We failed our people, and we will never agree with this proposed amendment,” he said.

Committee chairperson Mathole Motshekga said: “You are not speaking on behalf of the people. You are speaking on behalf of the EFF. The people have not said what you are saying.”

DA MP Annelie Lotriet requested that her party reserve its position.

“This is not to say now we support or not support, but it is a requirement from our caucus,” Lotriet said.

Mulder said he, too, needed to consult with his party caucus on the report.

Motshekga thanked the South Africans who responded to the call to participate in the public hearings and made written submissions without reservations.

He said the report did not just address positions of political parties in the committee, but it took into account all the submissions made by the public.

Motshekga also said they were not involved in a party political process.

“We are involved in a people’s process, and therefore, what the public says matters because any constitution which does not reflect the will of the people cannot have authority,” he said.

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