The parliamentary committee on land expropriation has published its new draft bill for public comment.
The bill aims to amend Section 25 of the Constitution to allow for land expropriation without providing compensation.
However, the bill itself does not specify the circumstances when no compensation may be given. Instead, it states that a separate piece of national legislation must set out the specific circumstances where a court may determine that the amount of compensation is nil.
Previously, Section 25 read:
S25 (2)(b): subject to compensation, the amount of which and the time and manner of payment of which have either been agreed to by those affected or decided or approved by a court.
The amendment adds the following to S25 (2)(b):
Provided that in accordance with subsection (3A) a court may, where land and any improvements thereon are expropriated for the purposes of land reform, determine that the amount of compensation is nil.
and adds this section as S25 (3)(a)
S25 (3)(a) : National legislation must, subject to subsections (2) and (3), set out specific circumstances where a court may determine that the amount of compensation is nil.
Written submissions must be received by no later than Friday, 31 January 2020. Submissions and enquiries must be directed to Mr V Ramaano at this email address.
You can read the full bill below:
This new legislation follows a lengthy consultation period which solicited the views of the public on the possible review of section 25 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.
The review focused on allowing the state to expropriate land in the public interest without compensation, as well as on mechanisms for expropriating land without compensation.
After an extensive consultation process, the Constitutional Review Committee filed a report in the two Houses recommending that:
“Section 25 of the Constitution must be amended to make explicit that which is implicit in the Constitution, with regards to expropriation of land without compensation, as a legitimate option for land reform, so as to address the historic wrongs caused by the arbitrary dispossession of land, and in so doing ensure equitable access to land and further empower the majority of South Africans to be productive participants in ownership, food security and agricultural reform programs.”
It further recommended that Parliament must urgently establish a mechanism to effect the necessary amendment to the relevant part of section 25 of the Constitution.
That mechanism was established by a resolution of the National Assembly first during the Fifth Parliament, and then again in the Sixth Parliament, which resulted in the development of this Bill.