Johanensburg - With the National Assembly expected to get down to business next week, the DA insists that it is opposed to the amendment of the Constitution that allows expropriation of land without compensation.
The party said if need be, it will go to the Constitutional Court to stop the National Assembly from enacting the amendment to Section 5 of the Constitution. The party opposed the ANC and the EFF last year in Parliament, when a report on land was adopted.
The ANC and EFF, despite having opposing views at times, both backed expropriation of land without compensation during the May elections campaign.
During the manifesto launch in Durban, President Cyril Ramaphosa said: “We outline the elements of a plan to accelerate land reform, making use of a range of complementary measures, including, where appropriate, expropriation without compensation.”
The EFF has also been consistent on the land matter.
“It is our firm belief that the crisis levels of poverty, inequality and underdevelopment being experienced in the country can be ended by the reclamation and equitable redistribution of the land and the creation of jobs,” said EFF leader Julius Malema at the launch of his party’s manifesto.
In anticipation that the matter would be brought back when the House gets back to business from next week, DA’s national spokesperson Solly Malatsi said they are still clear that they are opposed to the amendment.
“We remain resolute in our determination to oppose the constitutional amendment that will pave the way for expropriation of land without compensation and we will be expressing our opposition through the parliamentary channels throughout the 6th Parliament and, if need be, explore court action,” Malatsi said.
The DA is on record saying that it supports land reform but not without compensation. It is also opposed to having government as the custodian of the land, arguing that it will breed corruption.
Nkanyiso Gumede, a researcher at the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS), said since the parliamentary committee that was dealing with the amendment of the constitution was chaired by the newly appointed Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, it has to be reconstituted. Gumede said there is little likelihood that land expropriation without compensation will address the poverty curse in the country.
“Our research report on land redistribution, due to be released soon, shows that land is being redistributed mainly to the wealthy, urban, politically connected men. With poverty affecting mostly people in the rural areas, and mainly women, there is a low probability that land redistribution can address poverty. We also see the collapse of farms after they are redistributed, due to issues such as dilapidated infrastructure, poor quality farmland, and absence of or insufficient farming support, and so forth.”