Cosatu backs taking land without compensation

File Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African/news/agency ANA

File Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African/news/agency ANA

Published Mar 23, 2021


Cape Town - COSATU has backed the expropriation of land without compensation, saying it was long overdue.

But Afribusiness has opposed it and said it was unconstitutional. It said any expropriation should be paid for in line with the market value.

The two organisations on Tuesday made oral submissions to the ad hoc committee on amendments to Section 25 of the Consitution to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation.

The hearings followed the extension of the lifespan of the committee to May 31 as it will not be able to complete its work this month.

Speaking in the virtual hearing, committee co-chairperson Mathole Motshekga said some interest groups had asked to make oral submissions and they had applied for the extension of the deadline.

“Throughout the process the committee took decisions by consensus. We also agreed not to rush the process but to allow submissions by departments and the submitters.

“We agreed therefore to allow submitters who made the request but not to reopen the process,” he said.

Motshekga said they had since received a request from the Mineral Council and National Democratic Lawyers of South Africa to appear before the committee.

He said their request was turned down as that would amount to opening up the entire process.

“If we do that we will not be able to meet the deadline set by Parliament. The process is now that we allow those who made requests to make oral submission pursuant to our decision.”

Motshekga said they have no reason not to meet the May 31 deadline.

“If we do so we lose credibility as this Parliament. We lose loyalty of our people,” he said.

“We can’t disappoint our people who have waited for decades for this process to be started and completed.”

Although the National House of Traditional Leaders was granted an opportunity to make an oral presentation, it did not turn up for the virtual hearing.

Briefing the committee, the chief executive of Afribusiness, Piet le Roux, said expropriation of land without compensation would be incompatible with the Constitution.

Le Roux said the state’s power to expropriate had to be accompanied by an obligation of the market value payment for loss of property.

“Insofar that any act of expropriation is below market (value), that shortfall constitutes a confiscation,” he said.

Le Roux also said that should the Constitution be changed, it would trigger a campaign to restore its constitutionality.

Cosatu parliamentary counsellor Matthew Parks said the labour federation supported an amendment of the Constitution to allow expropriation of land without compensation.

“We support the 18th amendment of the Constitution wholeheartedly. It is correct and is long overdue,” Parks said.

He charged that ownership of land remained skewed in racial and gender ownership and there was a need to look to Zimbabwe to avoid the consequences of not dealing with land reform.

Political Bureau

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