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By Editorial staff


Address the grey areas of Land Act

Land has been the cause of many family feuds over manyt generation, while battles and world wars have been fought over it.

The ownership of land is a contentious and emotive issue. Those that have it, will fight tooth and nail to protect it, and those that don’t have it, especially through past injustices, will risk everything to acquire it.

Land has been the cause of many family feuds, while battles and world wars have been fought over it. With this in mind, the passing of the Expropriation Bill in parliament was always going to be hotly received.

Our Saturday Citizen lead said “paranoia, fear and even speculation of a civil war were running rife after the National Assembly passed the controversial Expropriation Bill this week”.

ALSO READ: Expropriation without compensation: ‘People will fight for their land’

While we understand how this could still play out, we rather side with political analyst Piet Croucamp’s view that “people should not chase ghosts”.

Croucamp said: “People are not going to lose their properties. The Bill needs to be read in conjunction with the constitution. The government can’t just come and take your land.”

So, what’s all the fuss about?

Croucamp said: “The [part of the] constitution that the ANC and EFF tried to amend [Section 25] is not amended. This can also only be done if it meets the requirements of the constitution of 1996.”

In an opinion piece we ran last month, head of policy research at the Institute of Race Relations Anthea Jeffery said: “The greatest risk is that the definition of expropriation will be used for a host of uncompensated custodial takings. Custodianship could have devastating consequences for the country’s 11.5 million homeowners – about 9.6 million of whom are black.

All could have their ownership rights replaced by 25-year “land-use licences” – to be granted as deployed cadres think fit.”

That there are so many contrasting opinions already, shows that government will have to step in quickly to clear these grey areas. So much depends on it.

ALSO READ: Expropriation bill set to face constitutional challenge

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