Molefe Seeletsa
Digital Journalist
3 minute read
2 Sep 2021
10:52 am

Land expropriation bill: Sluggish section 25 committee gets more time

Molefe Seeletsa

The committee amending section 25 of the Constitution, to allow for expropriation of land, has been granted another extension.

Picture: Gallo Images/Netwerk24/Jaco Marais

The ad hoc committee amending section 25 of the Constitution, to allow for expropriation of land without compensation, has been granted another extension.

This was revealed in the National Assembly’s Programme Committee meeting on Thursday.

The extension, until 10 September, was effected in the House last week, to enable the committee to complete its work.

Amendment bill

This comes as the ad hoc committee is expected to meet on Friday to adopt the proposed draft Constitution 18th Amendment Bill.

The third draft bill was introduced to the committee last week.

The bill will not include provisions to change the land restitution claims cut-off date from the previous 1913 to January 1800, as well as exempting traditional land from expropriation.

However, the bill allows provision for state custodianship of some land.

Ad hoc committee chairperson, Mathole Motshekga, said the committee had deliberated on the second draft of the bill rather than the third draft.

“As the second version of the bill has already gone out for public engagement and the public had an opportunity to make inputs, no further advertising is necessary.

READ MORE: What to expect from the controversial, revised Expropriation Bill

“The majority of members of the committee agreed to rather not work on the third draft of the bill that included some substantial proposed amendments, which would have required further public participation,” the chairperson said in a statement.

Motshekga directed Parliament’s legal services to “clean up” the bill so that the committee could have a clean copy by Friday when it will be put up for adoption, saying the committee would adopt the bill through going clause by clause.

“Furthermore, once adopted the committee will give the support staff an opportunity to prepare a report on the bill for consideration and adoption,” he added.

This will be tabled in the National Assembly.

The ad hoc committee drafted the Constitution 18th Amendment Bill in 2019 to initiate and introduce legislation to amend section 25 of the Constitution – a section referred to as the “property clause” – laying a framework for the protection of property rights, while balancing it with imperatives for the transformation of property relations in South Africa

Disputes

The ANC and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) previously could not agree on the form of the proposed amendment.

The original amendment bill made provision for the courts to determine the amount of compensation to be paid, including nil compensation as a point of departure.

The ANC wants to change this provision so the courts will only be involved if there is a dispute between the state and the owner of the expropriated property.

READ MORE: IRR calls for the halt of ‘draconian’ Land Expropriation Bill

However, the EFF’s proposed amendment has no role for the courts. The Red Berets also want the state to be the custodian of all land.

This means that without the support of the EFF, the ANC will not be able to reach the required two-thirds majority to pass a constitutional amendment.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has already reiterated that it will not support any bill to amend section 25.