News / South Africa
A legal expert on Tuesday conceded that while there might have been political differences between the ANC and opposition parties, the failure of the opposition to support the ruling party in the passing of the land amendment Bill,was bound to have economic implications.
Voting in the National Assembly (NA) saw 204 in support of the Bill and 145 against – falling far too short of the required two thirds majority to introduce an amendment to Section 25 on land expropriation.
“The voting exposed the EFF [Economic Freedom Fighters] and the DA [Democratic Alliance] in terms of political alliances,” said a law expert and executive director of Accountability Now, advocate Paul Hoffman.
“The amendment of Section 25 is not one that should occupy much space in the Bill – something already provided for in the constitution.”
In a fierce debate in the NA, Mathole Motshekga, chair of the ad hoc committee on land expropriation, was unsuccessful in persuading opposition parties – except for the United Democratic Movement – to support the constitutional amendment.
ALSO READ: Land expropriation: Bill to amend Constitution approved
“Those who, unfortunately, have to vote with us on this matter are the beneficiaries of this crime against the African humanity and they have the support of the coalition of some Africans who do not know the history of this country,”charged Motshekga.
“They are supporting this because of their unholy coalition that in 2024 [national elections] they will gain power and do what they like. We want to assure them that the ANC is in power and has other instruments that it will useto ensure that the people of South Africa will get access to the land.
“Without making the land available to the people, we have a situation where the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality will continue.”
Motshekga said without making land available to the people, the government “has a situation where there will be the deepening of moral degeneration in social ills will continue”.
He added: “Those who don’t want to support this Bill are saying that the suffering of the African people in particular, and black people in general, should continue until some time in the future; until they are in power, something which will never happen in our lifetime.
“All South Africans, who respect the will of the people of the country, will vote with us today, so that this Bill goes through.”
The DA – in support of its new political partners the EFF and ActionSA – said the constitution was sufficient in its current form.
The DA’s stance has been seen as the latest salvo to the ANC following local government polls.
READ NOW: Failure to amend Section 25 ‘too ghastly contemplate’ says Ad hoc committee chair
Said University of Johannesburg professor of politics Siphamandla Zondi: “The ANC decision, through its majority vote, may not be adequate to effect this change, since white parties are unlikely to join it.
“The ANC has decided that the amendment is reserved for land that is used for agriculture, business or settlement, but that which is unoccupied, unsafe and such.
“This compromise designed to safeguard the current economic relations falls short of the idea of restitution of land. People need for livelihoods and to return to their ancestral land.”
He said this gave the EFF material to argue the ANC does not want the transfer of productive land to descendants of its dispossessed owners.
“It is a relief for big private property owners that are generally white who feared losing land.”