The ANC believed it would undo the “original sin” of land theft, but more than 140 Members of parliament apparently disagreed, which led to the National Assembly failing to pass proposed bill on land expropriation without compensation on Tuesday afternoon.
145 members voted against the bill, while 204 voted in support of the bill, meaning a failure to obtain a required two-thirds majority.
Arguing in support of the bill, the ANC’s Mathole Motshekga said the party believed the adoption of the bill was the only mechanism to undo “the original sin” committed by land invaders.
According to Motshekga, those who voted against the adoption of the bill were voting against the will of the people.
“This original sin shaped land occupation by African people and the administration of the affairs of African people. We can see that there was a grave injustice done to the African majority in particular and black people in general,” he argued.
Arguing against the bill, Narend Singh for the IFP said the country had had enough of a government that has abused land reform programmes that benefit only the ANC elite. Singh argued there was no need to amend the Constitution and that the bill was not the solution.
The African National Congress (ANC) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) did not see eye to eye on how the constitutional amendment should be implemented. The EFF called for state custodianship of land while the ANC favours compensation in some instances.
The DA, on the other hand, was totally opposed to any constitutional amendments and believes the bill infringes on South Africans’ right to private property ownership.
EFF leader Julius Malema lamented that his party’s proposals on the bill were ignored by Parliament’s ad hoc committee that was tasked with conducting public hearings on amending the property clause.
“We tried but the parliamentary process was hijacked by the ANC and their handlers and unless we have an overwhelming majority in Parliament, black people will stay landless in this country,” he said.
He accused the governing ANC of being too preoccupied with maintaining the status quo instead of attending to South Africa’s land reform.
“Our people must take it upon themselves to ensure that they return what was stolen from them. This process is a failure.
“The ANC is completely captured by white monopoly capital and it would not do anything in its power to return the land to the rightful owners,” Malema said.
Additional reporting by Thapelo Lekabe