CAPE TOWN, A resolution adopted by the National Assembly, the lower house of the South African Parliament to amend the Constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation will be referred to the Constitutional Review Committee, which must report back to Parliament by Aug 30 this year.

This follows Tuesday’s resolution by Members of Parliament to assign the Constitutional Review Committee to review Section 25 of the Constitution, which addresses the issue of the right of property ownership and which currently states that property may be expropriated only in terms of law of general application for a public purpose or in the public interest, and subject to compensation being paid.

Section 25(3) makes clear that the amount of the compensation and the time and manner of payment must be “just and equitable”, reflecting an equitable balance between the public interest and the interests of those affected, having regard to all relevant circumstances, in the current use of the property; the history of the acquisition and use of the property; the market value of the property; the extent of direct State investment and subsidy in the acquisition and beneficial capital improvement of the property.

Opposition party the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) led a debate on this motion, which the ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), amended before it was later adopted following a vote in the National Assembly.

The ANC amended parts of the motion to read: With the concurrence of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), [we] instruct the Constitutional Review Committee to review section 25 of the Constitution and other clauses where necessary to make it possible for the State to expropriate land in the public interest without compensation.

The motion was adopted following a vote where 241 MPs voted for the amended motion, with 83 MPs voting against it. The land issue also formed part of a significant shift in the ANC, as its national elective conference in December last year marked the first time the ruling party adopted the policy of land expropriation without compensation.

In his maiden State of the Nation Address to Parliament last month, President Cyril Ramaphosa promised to ensure that national government moves ahead with the policy to redress a grave historical injustice.

Source: NAM News Network