EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA
EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

EFF wants 1913 land restitution cut-off date scrapped

By Mayibongwe Maqhina Time of article published Jul 2, 2021

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Cape Town - The EFF is standing its ground on the scrapping of the cut-off date that entitles a person and a community to restitution of property dispossessed after 1913 due to discriminatory racial laws.

This emerged when some parties tabled their revised positions on the amendment of the constitution to allow expropriation without compensation on Friday.

Briefing the ad hoc committee, EFF chief whip Floyd Shivambu said the constitution clause should read: “A person or community whose tenure of land is legally insecure as a result of past racially discriminatory laws or practices is entitled, to the extent provided by an Act of Parliament, either to tenure which is legally secure or to comparable redress.”

He said the cut off date should be removed and that section of the constitution would still make sense without the 1913 date.

Shivambu also said property should be expropriated without compensation only in terms of law of general application for a public purpose or in the public interest.

He said the current section in the constitution that provides for the amount of the compensation after having regard to all relevant circumstances should be scrapped.

Shivambu added that the state should take reasonable legislative and other measures which enables state custodianship and for citizens to gain access to land on an equitable basis.

Presenting the governing party’s position, ANC MP Mina Lesoma said compensation may be nil and also set out circumstances where compensation should be just and equitable.

Lesoma said there should be national legislation setting out the circumstances where a court may determine nil compensation for purposes of land reform.

She also said the state should take reasonable legislative measures and other measures to foster state custodianship of certain land for citizens to gain access to land on an equitable basis.

DA MP Annelie Lotriet said her party has concerns with amendments that provide for the court to determine nil compensation.

Lotriet said that took away protection when property was expropriated

“It opens the door for arbitrary circumstances to determine when compensation may be nil. The constitution provides for specific circumstances,” she said.

She also said there were many unanswered questions around the proposed amendment including whether there was an analysis of the property market and on the financial implications of the amendment, among others.

“Submissions indicated it would have dire financial implications for the country,” Lotriet said before asking who would be responsible for bonds on properties and what would happen to property used as collateral.

ACDP MP Wayne Thring said the amendment of the constitution to allow expropriation was not necessary.

“We understand, however, the mandate was given to the committee to look into reviewing Section 25,” Thring said.

He said the constitution dealt adequately with restitution and it was still possible to ensure there equitable restitution where land had been unjustly dispossessed.

“We don’t accept the amendment put forward that would allow Section 25 to be amended,” Thring said.

Freedom Front Plus chief whip Corne Mulder said they noted the proposals, but when tampering with the constitution there should be acknowledgement of the rights of everyone to own property.

He said they did not support the ANC proposals and that there were more questions than answers.

Mulder said the committee should rather take a decision on amending the constitution and submit its report to the National Assembly.

After some discussions the committee agreed to meet next week to consider the final text that would be published for comment and further revised positions of the parties.

Political Bureau

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