Parliament closer to formulating constitutional text to expropriate land without compensation
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Cape Town - The committee mandated to amend Section 25 of the Constitution hopes to come up with a final text for the amendment that will pave the way for expropriation without compensation.
“Next week, we will consider the final text that has to be published,” committee chairperson Mathole Motshekga said on Friday.
He made the comments after the committee deliberated on proposals by the ANC and EFF amid a push by some ANC MPs for the text to be finalised and concerns other parties were not moving from their original positions.
At the centre of the discussion were expropriation of land, custodianship of land, the jurisdiction of courts, compensation and the cut-off date for restitution.
Addressing the committee earlier, Motshekga said there was no room for winners and losers among them.
“The failure to give and take will require all political parties represented in Parliament to put the interest of South Africa and her people first,” he said.
Briefing the committee, ANC MP Mina Lesoma said national legislation should specify where a court may determine nil compensation.
Lesoma said her party proposed the insertion of a subsection which provided for land as common heritage of all citizens that the state should safeguard for future generations.
She also said the ANC was in favour of a state custodian of certain land in order for citizens to gain access to land on an equitable basis.
DA MP Annelie Lotriet said her party was concerned with the proposal for the court to determine nil compensation.
“It opens the door for arbitrary circumstances to determine when compensation may be nil,” she said.
Lotriet asked whether an analysis of the property market and financial implications of the amendments was made.
She also asked who will be responsible for bonds on property that were expropriated and what would happen to properties used as collateral or security, among other things.
“There are so many open-ended questions,” Lotriet said.
EFF chief whip Floyd Shivambu said property should be expropriated without compensation only in terms of the law of general application for public interest, which included land reform.
Shivambu also said 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.
He also said that the 1930 cut-off date for restitution should be scrapped from the constitution, and persons and communities be entitled to restitution of that property or equitable redress to the extent of the Act of Parliament.
ACDP MP Wayne Thring said the amendment of the constitution to allow expropriation was not necessary.
Freedom Front Plus chief whip Corné Mulder said they noted the proposals, but tampering with the constitution should acknowledge the rights of everyone to own property.
Mulder also said they did not support the ANC proposals and custodianship of land by the state.
“There are more questions than answers if you look at the proposals,” he said before urging the committee to finish its work and submit its report to the National Assembly for a decision.
Motshekga urged for patience.
“I have no doubt that we will find each other,” he said as some ANC MPs indicated that they had hoped they would approve a text for the amendment through a vote and publish it for comment.
“We are moving somewhere though slowly, but we must be getting there. Let us be patient with one another,” Motshekga said.
“These matters are capable of resolution, and we will have to resolve them if we want the best interest of South Africa to prevail,” he said.