MPs pass 'problematic' expropriation bill

Cape Town – The highly criticised expropriation bill has been passed in Parliament.

The bill was passed despite objections from the DA, the EFF and other opposition parties in the National Assembly on Tuesday.

After a spirited debate, 202 members voted in favour of the bill, 88 voted against it, while two abstained.

The bill has now been sent to the National Council of Provinces for concurrence.

It provides for property to be expropriated in the public interest, as well as for public purpose.

The bill, which has been criticised for being too broad in definitions, was introduced to speed up land reform.

In a debate on Tuesday, the DA called for the bill to be “sent back to the drawing board”.

The party submitted amendments to the bill, but the ANC objected to all five.

The EFF rejected the bill, and said they still called for expropriation of land without compensation to restore the dignity of those it had been stolen from.

The NFP questioned whether the bill would actually work in the country and the party said it would give the state the power to take property upfront.

This might lead to greedy land grabs, the party said.

They, however, supported the bill.

The IFP also supported the bill.

The FF Plus called the bill problematic and said it opened the door for legal land grabs.

Opposition parties also called the bill unconstitutional and problematic.

The ANC said the Constitutional Court had stated that it was judicially unwise and almost impossible to define property.

Public works deputy minister Jeremy Cronin said expropriation could be important for transformational progress.

He said it was wrong to imagine that only the wealthy property owners would get expropriated.

ANC chief whip Stone Sizani called the bill one of the most important transformative pieces of legislation post 1994. 

"The passing of this draft legislation is without a doubt key to our transformation trajectory, and it will intensify the land reform program and bring about equitable access to South Africa's land, natural resources and food security," he said in a statement following the sitting.

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