The SA’s Land Expropriation Bill is just a step closser to being signed into law by President Jacob Zuma who is presently reviewing the case alongside the objections to the proposed legislation.
The Land Expropriation Bill which has been a long chorused chant by opposition party Economic Freedom Fighters, is about to be signed into law and the people have described this as an act by the ANC to be more like its opposition.
“All the matters are still being processed,” the presidency said, confirming that the president has received the proposed bill and was mulling its possible enactment, after parliament last month passed it and sent it to Zuma to sign off.
The bill seeks to give the state greater powers to expropriate land from private individuals or companies for the “public purpose” or in the “public interest “but should the president have reservations about whether the bill would stand up to constitutional muster, then he may refer it back to the National Assembly for further deliberations.
The EFF has for long chorused that the White have stolen the lands that belongs to the black race in the country. The party has on several occasions staged a protest declaring that all land should be transferred to the ownership and custody of the state in a similar way that all mineral and petroleum resources were transferred to the ownership and custody of the state through the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) of 2002.
With Zuma signing the Land Expropriation Bill into law, land with mineral resources or that which was previously tribally occupied would be up for grabs, with the state having the power to take it from the owners, who would be given monetary compensation.
The new bill would enable government to acquire land without the owners’ consent and the amount would be determined by the valuer-general.
However, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe last week, said parliament’s passing of the bill provided legal certainty to the process of radical socioeconomic transformation. It also set out the rules by which government could lay claim to land “in the public interest” and “for public purposes”. Should a dispute over money arise, the final arbiter would be the courts.
Meanwhile, while the labour federation COSATU has strongly supported the “progressive provisions” in the proposed bill, opposition parties like the DA referred to it as the “job-killing Expropriation Bill” the party petitioned Zuma to return the bill to the parliament becaust to them, it is unconstitutional
referred to it as the “job-killing Expropriation Bill”, and said it was unconstitutional. She also claimed there had been insufficient public participation.
If the president is at all serious about the constitution in general, and property rights in particular, he will not sign the bill,”DA MP Anchen Dreyer said.
Cosatu on its own part, applauded that “clear timeframes” had been set out to resolve expropriation cases which, in the past, had been delayed “in perpetuity by the wealthy”.
Freedom Front Plus spokesperson Pieter Groenewald said his party was opposed to the bill, even though the principle of expropriation was in place internationally and essential to development.
“In South Africa, however, the ANC government makes it a political issue. The ANC wants to abuse this bill as an emotional political play ball on land.
“Zuma falls in with the choir of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), which says whites have stolen land,” Groenewald said.
“The president had, in reality, said that he has a new bill which is with Cabinet, that places a restriction on land ownership.
Interestingly, the EFF said the adoption of the bill was yet another piece of legislation based on “ethically unjustifiable logic”. EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi has argued that the Land Expropriation Bill was not an answer to the colonial question of land.
“Land in South Africa was acquired through a crime against humanity, colonialism and apartheid. These crimes were crimes of mass death, mass destitution and systematic dehumanisation of all black people.
“We reject the idea that for the purposes of land reform there must be money spent by the government or anyone else to redistribute land,” Ndlozi said.
The “willing buyer-willing seller” principle has, in the past, forced government to pay exorbitant amounts for land, frustrated the redistribution process and hamstrung its ability to achieve redistribution targets.