David Mabuza vows land reform bill will be pursued in 'responsible manner'
Johannesburg - Deputy President David Mabuza has assured the country that Parliament would stick to its deadline of amending the Constitution to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation.
Mabuza said even the chairperson of the ad hoc committee on land expropriation, Mathole Motshekga, had given assurances of meeting the deadline. Parliament set the deadline of March next year to conclude the process of amendments to the Constitution.
The deputy president also said they would soon table the Expropriation Bill to allow for the expropriation of properties in the public interest or for a public purpose.
However, he insisted that they would not allow land invasions.
“We have said in this House the land reform process shall be pursued in a responsible manner,” said Mabuza.
He said land reform would help in increasing agricultural production in the country. There was also a comprehensive response of the government on the report by the land reform panel.
He said the report of the government would be tabled before Cabinet for approval.
“In as far as the work of the constitutional review committee, the chairperson of the committee (Motshekga) announced that the committee will be able to meet its deadline,” said Mabuza. “He has given assurance that everything is on track to meet this deadline.”
Mabuza said that the expropriation of land without compensation remained a government commitment.
The ANC took a resolution at its conference in Nasrec in 2017 for the expropriation of land. Mabuza also said they were aware that this process could face challenges in court. However, they were ready for the challenges.
The opposition parties had said in the past that they would challenge the process in the Constitutional Court.
Mabuza said despite comments by former president Kgalema Motlanthe that the expropriation of land without compensation would not happen in 100 years, it would happen soon.
This followed a question by EFF deputy leader Floyd Shivambu that Mabuza needed to give assurance to the country following the comments by Motlanthe. Mabuza said this remained the policy of the ANC. He also said municipalities needed to be able to collect their revenue.
Municipalities are owed more than R164 billion by households, businesses and departments. The National Treasury had said that in the past, most of the debt was not recoverable.
The debt had been growing in the past 10 years and it was R49bn in 2010 but was now R64bn. Most of the debt was from households.
Municipalities have been buckling under pressure for some time and EFF MP Ntombovuyo Mente said the 9% allocation municipalities got from National Treasury was not enough.
Mabuza said the government had intervened in some of the municipalities.
Mabuza also spoke out against gender-based violence saying the country needed to stamp out violence against women and children.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a few weeks ago that they would put an additional R1.1bn to fight gender-based violence.