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Kwanalu

The voice of agriculture . Die stem van landbou . Izwe lezokulima

Expropriation Bill one step closer to adoption

Jan Gerber

News24

  • The Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure adopted its report on the Expropriation Bill on Tuesday.
  • The DA and ACDP indicated they did not support the bill, with the former claiming the clause dealing with nil compensation for expropriation is unconstitutional.
  • The bill replaces an apartheid-era one and intends to “provide for the expropriation of property for a public purpose or in the public interest”.

The Expropriation Bill is one step closer to becoming law after the Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure adopted its report on the process of drafting the bill on Tuesday.

The DA and ACDP indicated they supported the adoption of the committee’s report but would not support the bill.

The ANC supports the report and bill.

DA MP Samantha Graham-Mare said they would be supporting the report as they were not unhappy with the process, and it reflected the minority report.

ACDP MP Wayne Thring agreed, saying due process was followed.

“On the basis that there are a number of clauses that are incorrectly included in the bill and that we feel that clause 12.3 is unconstitutional, we cannot support the bill in its current form,” said Graham-Mare.

Clause 12.3 deals with the circumstances when nil compensation could be paid and bears a striking resemblance to a similar clause in the Constitutional Amendment Bill that failed to pass last year.

However, unlike the Constitutional Amendment Bill, the Expropriation Bill needs a simple majority to pass.

The purpose of the controversial bill is to replace an apartheid-era act, to “provide for the expropriation of property for a public purpose or in the public interest”, to regulate the expropriation procedure and to identify certain instances where the provision of nil compensation may be just and equitable for expropriation in the public interest.

The bill will now be referred to the National Assembly for consideration.

Agri SA executive director Christo van der Rheede called on the National Assembly to reject the bill.

“The bill in its current form will have negative consequences for the economy at large should it proceed to be promulgated by the president,” Van der Rheede said in a statement.

“If this bill is passed in its current form, its weakening of the protections afforded to private property could see an exodus of capital from the agricultural sector and the broader economy, with a resulting loss of jobs and investments.

“This will adversely affect established, emerging and new entrant farmers alike, and undermine our efforts to build an inclusive and prosperous rural economy.”

He added some of the bill’s definitions were problematic.

“The bill’s provision for nil compensation will result in a future of policy uncertainty for the agricultural sector.

“South African farmers already operate under difficult conditions.

“Hence, the ongoing assault on any constitutional principle that protects property rights against any arbitrary action by government or by a court, fuels a climate of uncertainty that deters greater investment, job creation and inclusivity in the sector,” Van der Rheede said.

He added Agri SA believed in building an inclusive and growing farming sector to ensure food security for all, which could only be achieved with property rights that were secured and expanded.

Meanwhile, the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services also on Tuesday finalised the Land Courts Bill.

The bill intends to provide for the establishment of a Land Court and Land Court of Appeal, make provision for the administration and judicial functions of the Land Court and Land Court of Appeal, make provision for budgetary matters and to provide for the exclusive jurisdiction of the Land Court and Land Court of Appeal for certain matters.

The bill also provides for mediation and arbitration procedures and amends certain laws relating to the adjudication of land matters by other courts.