The Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture has endorsed the proposed policy shift towards using the provisions of the Constitution to expropriate land without compensation. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Pretoria - The Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture has endorsed the proposed policy shift towards using the provisions of the Constitution to expropriate land without compensation (EWC).

"The majority view in the panel is that it is an inescapable fact that section 25 of the Constitution is compensation-centric. In other words, the notion and origin of "expropriation" draws from global examples where it is inextricably linked with some form of compensation," the panel said in a statement on Sunday.

The panel had therefore offered a proposal for a constitutional amendment that clarified that EWC may be necessary in limited circumstances, but certainly in order to elevate the objectives of land reform.

The state was already empowered under section 25 of the Constitution to expropriate land for land reform purposes, but was required to pay "just and equitable compensation". Whether, and when, such compensation could be set at zero had been the subject of debate over the past 18 months.

There were differing views within the panel as to the necessity for constitutional amendment. Parliament had already voted to amend the Constitution and a committee had been established to propose the nature of such an amendment. The panel had suggested some wording that would serve as a clarification that compensation may be zero in circumstances that justify this, the statement said.

The panel was appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa in September 2018 and presented its report in May this year. It was approved by Cabinet on July 24, the statement said.

African News Agency (ANA)