Jenna Etheridge and Jan Gerber
Written submissions have opened on the draft bill to amend Section 25 of the Constitution, which deals with expropriation of land without compensation.
Dr Mathole Motshekga, head of the ad hoc committee charged with considering the specific circumstances for expropriation, said written submissions on the bill would be accepted until January 31.
MPs were this week presented with the draft bill.
The draft bill includes a preamble, which will not be included in the Constitution, should the bill be adopted. This preamble provides the context for the bill, explaining that expropriation without compensation is a legitimate option for land reform to address the historic wrongs and ensure equitable access to land and further empower the majority of South Africans.
Subsection 2 of the Constitution’s section 25 currently reads: “Property may be expropriated only in terms of a law of general application; for a public purpose or in the public interest; and 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 draft bill adds the following sentence to that: “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.”
The draft bill also includes the following as subsection (3A): “National legislation must, subject to subsections  and , set out specific circumstances where a court may determine that the amount
of compensation is nil.”
News24 previously reported that FF Plus MP Corné Mulder and DA MPs Glynnis Breytenbach and Werner Horn suggested the specific circumstances should be included.
Horn said if the circumstances were not included, it could bring the amendment’s constitutionality in question.
Mulder said if the circumstances were included in the Constitution, it would provide some certainty.
ANC MP Regina Lesoma said their arguments sounded convincing but added the Constitution could not be over-prescriptive.
Motshekga said the committee intended publishing an advert on January 2 calling for public input until the end of January.
Submissions and enquiries must be directed to Mr V Ramaano, 3rd Floor, 90 Plein Street, Cape Town, 8000 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org .