The presidential advisory committee has published its report on land expropriation without compensation.
The report makes a number of recommendations on land in South Africa – including provision for the establishment of an integrated planning system’ which will be responsible for the planning and coordination of the land expropriation process.
The report also calls for the speedy distribution of land that is already owned by the government, as well as ‘voluntary donations’ from various sources such as churches, mining houses, and commercial farmers.
In line with the current Expropriation Bill that is being considered by parliament, the report suggests that the conditions for land expropriation without compensation, should include:
- Where land is occupied or used by a labour tenant;
- Where land is held for speculative purposes;
- Where land is state-owned or owned by a state-owned entity;
- Where the owner has abandoned the land; and
- Where the market value of the land is equivalent to or less than the present value of direct state investment or subsidy in the acquisition and beneficial capital improvement of the land.
Over and above these conditions, the report suggests that expropriation without compensation also applies in the following circumstances.
- Hopelessly indebted land;
- Land obtained through criminal activity;
- Informal settlement areas;
- Inner-city buildings with absentee landlords;
- Land donations (as a form of EWC); and
- Farm equity schemes.
What happens next?
Last week, the National Assembly has agreed to establish a multiparty committee to introduce legislation amending section 25 of the constitution.
This committee will draw on the findings of this report as well as previous studies, and past legislation to come up with a new bill which covers the above issues.
The new committee will report back to the National Assembly by 31 March 2020, and will and be composed of 11 voting members and 14 non-voting members.
Voting members will be drawn from the African National Congress (6), the Democratic Alliance (2), the Economic Freedom Fighters (1) and other parties (2).
The 14 non-voting members of the National Assembly, will comprise of the African National Congress (2), Democratic Alliance (1), Economic Freedom Fighters (1) and other parties (10).
Once the bill has been finalised it will be gazetted and undergo a full public consultation process.
This means that the earliest that land expropriation can be introduced is mid-2020. However, it will likely take much longer as the bill will face intense scrutiny from the opposition parties and members of the public.