- 1 Mar 2016
- The Mercury
- Siyabonga Mkhwanazi
THE National Council of Provinces has been urged to look at the Expropriation Bill to avoid putting commercial farmers under fear of expropriation of their land.
Agri SA President Johannes Moller said yesterday that the organisation wanted the NCOP to consider its plea for a proper definition of the bill to end confusion in the agricultural sector.
On the other hand, land rights NGO, the Association for Rural Advancement called on the government to start implementing its policies and stop making more laws.
The Expropriation Bill will be discussed by the NCOP today. It was adopted by the National Assembly last week.
The DA, African Christian Democratic Party, Cope and Freedom Front Plus warned Parliament last week that the bill was unconstitutional and could lead to lack of investment and capital outflow by foreign investors.
Moller said the bill was not clear in its definition of property to be expropriated, and Agri SA wanted Parliament to correct that.
“There are other bills which define what you can expropriate, and the level of remuneration, as well,” said Moller.
He warned that if the bill continued with the use of courts to settle expropriation amounts, it would take years to complete. The courts were already clogged with a backlog of cases, and if land reform cases went to court it would take up to 10 years to settle cases.
Moller said Agri SA would impress upon the NCOP the need to remove the definition of expropriating property, because this was already covered in other pieces of legislation.
If the NCOP failed to listen to it, Agri SA would take legal advice on the constitutionality of the bill.
Already other parties in Parliament have warned about the bill’s constitutionality.
They believe the bill flies in the face of the constitution, and assumes more powers than the constitution.
Association for Rural Advancement director Laurel Oettle said Afra’s concern was about the lack of implementation of legislation by the government.
She said there were many good pieces of legislation on land reform, but the problem was implementation. The government needed to improve its systems to speed up the implementation of its own laws.
A few weeks ago, Speaker Baleka Mbete launched a panel, led by former deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe, to oversee the implementation of laws that had been passed since 1994.
Mbete said they were concerned about the lack of implementation of laws, despite much good legislation that had come out of Parliament.
The panel will report to Parliament in the next 12 months.