File picture: Reuters
File picture: Reuters

Parliament set to tackle land expropriation issue

By Siyabonga Mkhwanazi Time of article published Apr 22, 2021

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Cape Town - Political parties have a week left before they return to Parliament with a mandate from their parties over amendments to Section 25 of the Constitution to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation.

This followed deliberations and oral submissions conducted by the ad hoc committee on land expropriation in the last few weeks.

Chairperson of the committee Mathole Motshekga said at the last meeting that MPs serving on the committee will have to go back to their parties to seek a mandate.

Parties will report to the next meeting on May 3 on the positions their parties have taken.

The ANC and EFF have been backing plans for the expropriation of land without compensation.

But the DA, Freedom Front Plus and the ACDP have been opposed to changes to the Constitution to allow for this process.

The state has also been using new measures to make available state-owned land to small and emerging black farmers.

The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development announced a few months ago that it has 700 000 hectares of land that will be redistributed as part of the land reform programme.

In written replies to questions from DA MPs this week on the hectares of land in the hands of traditional leaders, Minister Thoko Didiza listed several provinces with some pieces of land in the hands of traditional leaders.

Didiza said in the Eastern Cape, 3.5 million hectares of land was held by government on behalf of traditional communities.

She said in Limpopo about 2.9m hectares of land was held by government for traditional communities.

This was followed by Mpumalanga, where more than 642 000ha of land belong to these communities.

In the North West, about 1.9m ha of land was in the hands of traditional communities, said Didiza.

Traditional communities in the Northern Cape held 943 000 ha of land.

In Gauteng, said Didiza, the government was holding only 20 000ha of land on behalf of traditional communities.

Didiza said in KwaZulu-Natal 2.8m ha of land was held by the Ingonyama Trust.

“An additional amount of about 559 559 hectares are held by government on behalf of traditional communities in the same province,” said Didiza.

The government has, over the last few years, been pushing for land reform.

Didiza told the ad hoc committee on land expropriation recently, during oral submissions, that there has been a slow pace of land reform in the country in the last 27 years.

This was based on a number of factors including policy, legislation and institutions meant to oversee the process.

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Political Bureau

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