Land expropriation talks shift focus to South African cities

The Joint Constitutional Review Committee, tasked with amending the constitution to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation, has begun public consultations.

According to the PMG, the Committee has joined with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the Gordon’s Institute of Business Studies, and the In Transformation Initiative to engage in stakeholder consultations on 27 and 28 March 2018 in Johannesburg.

However, the first stop for the Committee – before beginning its national roadshow – was at the National Land Dialogue in Johannesburg on Monday (26 March), in which a cross-section of opinion makers discussed the issue of urban land.

While previous discussion on land expropriation without compensation has primarily focused on rural land, the attention should shift to property in South African cities.

This is the view of Sithole Mbanga, CEO of South African Cities Network (SACN), a network of city municipalities and the organisations they partner with.

The Daily Maverick reports that at the dialogue, Mbanga said that the city should be the focal point in the land debate as it is directly impacted upon by housing and settlement challenges.

He added that land grabs happen because people do not have a place to stay in the areas where there are opportunities for them.

This was echoed by S’busiso Dlamini, head of Metro Spatial Planning in the City of Ekurhuleni, who said that low-income communities were increasingly moving to the city for opportunities.

Other focuses of the dialogue included a breakdown of apartheid spatial planning, access to funding for first time homeowners and the policy of expropriation without compensation against the demands of the market-based rent system.

Read: What South Africans think about big land issues, according to a new government survey

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Land expropriation talks shift focus to South African cities