Small window to comment on South Africa’s land expropriation shake-up

Parliament has called on all the stakeholders to make written submissions on the Draft Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill, with the comment period set to close on Friday (31 January).

The aim of the bill is to amend the Constitution of South Africa to provide for land expropriation without compensation.

While the parliamentary ad-hoc committee on land reform has indicated a number of times that it will not extend this window, the core issues surrounding the bill have seen a significant shake-up over the last week.

The DA and civil society groups have already indicated that this comment period was not long enough given the nature of the bill, however, the fact that the bill will likely be drastically altered has also raised questions about the comment period.

The current draft of the bill states that the country’s courts should be the arbiter when determining whether the state should pay for expropriated land.

However, the ANC has indicated that it does not support the idea of courts being the decision-maker on whether or not the state will pay for land it expropriates.

It instead plans to give this power to the minister of land reform who will be the sole arbiter on land expropriation cases in the country.

Explaining this decision to effectively cut out the courts, the ANC’s Mathole Motshekga, who is leading an ad hoc committee on land reform, said that if the courts are to determine compensation “it will take another 25 or 50 years to sort out land reform”.

He further warned that if this new proposal was not followed it could lead to land grabs such as those seen in Zimbabwe.

“Landowners who have seen the example of Zimbabwe should be more supportive of this process because you don’t want groups of people invading the land.

“This is an orderly process. If they don’t support this they are opening themselves up to the law of the jungle. We don’t want a banana republic and we don’t want the law of the jungle,” he said.

Submissions and enquiries may be emailed to [email protected]

Read: ANC’s new land expropriation twist could collapse the economy: DA

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Small window to comment on South Africa’s land expropriation shake-up