Thapelo Lekabe

By Thapelo Lekabe

Senior Digital Journalist

Land expropriation: EFF rejects 18th Amendment Bill, accuses ANC of selling out

Malema has called on South Africans to 'do whatever it takes to get their land back' because the bill undermines the struggles of black people for land.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has rejected the Constitution 18th Amendment Bill that seeks to amend section 25 of the Constitution so as to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation.

EFF leader Julius Malema, speaking during the debate in the National Assembly on Tuesday on the proposed legislation, said the bill in its current form was a complete departure from the radical proposals that the Red Berets had made back in 2018.

ALSO READ: Land expropriation: MPs to vote on Constitution 18th Amendment Bill

Malema called on South Africans to “do whatever it takes to get their land back” because the bill undermined the struggles of black people for land.

“We call on South Africans to know that it is now in their hands. They must stop trusting that the ANC can do anything in its power to give them the land back.

“They must take it upon themselves to reclaim which was stolen from them and the EFF will be fully behind them when they engage in that struggle of taking back the land that was stolen from them by children of criminals,” he said.  

The National Assembly on Tuesday afternoon is expected to vote on the Constitution 18th Amendment Bill following the adoption of the bill in September by Parliament’s ad hoc committee.

In order for the bill to be passed by the House, it would require at least two-thirds majority vote but only the ANC and EFF do 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, is totally opposed to any constitutional amendments and believes the bill infringes on South Africans’ right to private property ownership.

‘Process was hijacked by the ANC’

Malema lamented that his party’s proposals on the bill were ignored by the 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.

Malema said when the EFF first tabled their motion in Parliament in 2018 to amend section 25, they were clear on what needed to be done to address South Africa’s unequal and skewed ownership of land.

He said the EFF believes that state custodianship of land was the only way that would allow for a broad-based redistribution of land in South Africa, but the ANC disagrees with them.

“The current bill makes meaningless provision for the state to be a custodian of certain land and does not define what this certain land is.

“If this bill is allowed to pass, it will significantly sell out our position and it will undermine the struggles of black people. The practical implications of this bill will be far worse than the current property clause of the Constitution,” he said.

Nil compensation

Malema said the bill before the National Assembly was a setback for black South Africans’ struggle for land because it “provides for obscure circumstances in which the amount of compensation may be nil”.

“The concept of nil compensation was never there when Parliament resolved to adopt the EFF motion in 2018 and when it adopted the report of the Constitutional Review Committee,” Malema said.

“The nil compensation vocabulary was introduced by the legal office of Parliament in collaboration with and at the insistence of lobby groups that captured this process for their own selfish interest.

“We reject the assertion of nil compensation simply because it is vague and it will, in essence, provide for limited instances in which compensation could be at below the market value of the land,” he added.

The EFF leader said the Expropriation Bill, which is intended to provide clarity on land expropriation and how it would be enforced, defined conditions under which land can be expropriated at nil compensation.

These conditions included abandoned land, land that poses health and environmental risk, and state land.

“These do not constitute the type of land needed to comprehensively deal with the land question in this country,” Malema said.

The debate on the Constitution 18th Amendment Bill continues in the House, with the bill remaining highly unlikely to be passed by MPs.

READ NOW: Failure to amend Section 25 ‘too ghastly contemplate’ says Ad hoc committee chair

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