While the primary focus of the ANC’s December conference was on the leadership race between Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, a number of important policies were also introduced by the party.
One of the biggest changes was confirmation that the ANC would seek a change in the constitution to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation – provided it doesn’t affect the economy and food production.
Under current laws, two-thirds of lawmakers need to approve a change in the constitution. The ANC holds 62% of the seats in parliament and the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters, which backs the proposal, has 6%.
However the issue is significantly more complicated than simply changing the Constitution. This is the view of Bulelwa Mabasa, a director at Werksmans Attorneys, who has outlined seven major issues with the current plans to allow for land expropriation without compensation:
- Eradicating the notion of compensation will not make expropriation any easier.
- The ANC ‘s majority has been on a steady decline and it would require two thirds majority in Parliament to achieve the constitutional amendment. It is uncertain whether or not the EFF and other smaller parties would be inclined to vote on this issue with the ANC.
- There is no certainty on which land is available and/or has been earmarked for purposes of expropriation.
- Our current database and research conducted on land provides no certainty as to who owns what land.
- There has been no indication on how investor confidence will be boosted and/or encouraged under the circumstance.
- There is no legislation or policy that obliges the State to provide institutional and financial support to those awarded with land. The current track record is woeful.
- The pronouncement has come in the context of serious skills deficit in relation to land in general.