Expropriation without compensation is against constitution, ruling party says
The ANC has shot down the EFF’s latest proposal for expropriation of land without compensation, saying such a move would be unconstitutional. Parliament yesterday debated the EFF’s motion, amid growing calls for the government to fast track land reform. The motion was defeated when the ANC and other parties voted against it.
Going into the debate, the EFF, which has long called for expropriation without compensation and for its supporters to occupy land, had been emboldened by President Jacob Zuma’s controversial statement on Friday that the country should amend its laws to allow expropriation of land without compensation for owners as it tries to speed up the redistribution of land.
“To achieve all the goals mentioned in the state of the nation address, government is busy amending all the laws and policies to enable faster land reform, including land expropriation without compensation as provided for in the constitution,” Zuma said.
EFF leader Julius Malema said the ANC was contradicting its own president.
“We all know that the Dutch gangsters arrived here and took our land by force.
“Those who claim to be radical enough should be in [the] forefront to agree that [the] constitution must be changed to make it possible to own land.
“It cannot be right that less than 10% of the population owns more than 75% of the land.
“We are the only country where we say a revolution has taken place yet those who oppressed us have not lost anything.”
Malema also reiterated his call for land occupation.
“People of South Africa, where you see . . . beautiful land, take it, it belongs to you.”
Malema said the EFF was more than willing to join forces with the ANC to amend the constitution.
“We can give you our 6% and we come together to amend the constitution . . . This is a matter that can unite black people,” he said.
But ANC MPs dismissed the motion, saying it was unconstitutional and would lead to anarchy.
The office of the ANC chief whip said in a statement after the debate that while the party agreed that faster land reform was necessary, it did not agree with any notion of the country expropriating land without compensation.
“We believe that just and equitable compensation is the solution in resolving the land question in South Africa, like in other African countries such as Lesotho, Zambia, Malawi and Namibia.
“The land question must be addressed in a manner that will unite South Africans.
“In relation to land reform, the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform has already undertaken to do a pre-colonial audit of land ownership, use and occupation patterns.
“Once the audit has been completed, a single law will be developed to address the issue of land restitution and the necessary constitutional amendments will be undertaken to effect this process.”
The ANC said the expropriation bill clearly stated property may be expropriated only in terms of the law of general application for public purpose and in the public interest, subject to compensation which must be just and equitable.
In other words, compensation is not going to be based on market value only, meaning it must take all relevant circumstances into account.