Cape Town - MPs are missing an opportunity to fundamentally change unequal land ownership patterns by fiddling with an expropriation law rather than changing Section 25 of the constitution to say the land was stolen, said land activist Andile Mngxitama.
“But the question is: Do you have the courage…” he said during the Sankara Policy and Political School presentation at Tuesday’s public hearings on the Expropriation Bill.
“The committee has the power to reject it (the Bill)… We have to have the courage of our convictions and say the land is stolen.
“You are afraid to speak this truth… You are running away.”
Public Works repeatedly emphasised that the Bill... (would) not change the entities who may expropriate land - around 10 national ministers, all nine premiers and all 278 municipalities.”
Deputy Minister of Public Works Jeremy Cronin said on Tuesday that the draft expropriation law was “no silver bullet” for land reform and restitution matters: “The success or failings of land reform programmes are partly due to a reluctance by the government to move forward with constitutionally-compliant expropriation.”
Professor Ruth Hall, of University of the Western Cape’s Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies, argued compensation may well be above market value to protect poor communities, including those with unregistered rights like farm dwellers, communal land residents and those living in urban informal settlements.
Earlier the National House of Traditional Leaders’ proposal that communal land should be expressly excluded from expropriation was shot down by Cronin.
This after the institution’s deputy chairman, Inkosi Sipho Mahlangu told MPs, “without land, traditional leaders don’t exist”.
These remarks come after traditional leaders complained to the Minister of Rural Development, Gugile Nkwinti, that the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act ignored them as custodians of the land.