ANC and EFF not singing from same hymn sheet on land

2018-12-04 21:52
EFF leader Julius Malema at a press conference after the Joint Constitutional Review Committee's report recommending that the Constitution is amended to allow expropriation without compensation was adopted by the National Assembly on Tuesday. (Jan Gerber/News24)

EFF leader Julius Malema at a press conference after the Joint Constitutional Review Committee's report recommending that the Constitution is amended to allow expropriation without compensation was adopted by the National Assembly on Tuesday. (Jan Gerber/News24)

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While the ANC and EFF sang and danced together shortly before the Joint Constitutional Review Committee's report recommending that the Constitution is amended to allow expropriation without compensation was adopted in the National Assembly on Tuesday, the discussions on the substance of an amendment will probably not be a song and a dance between the two parties. 

The parties differ fundamentally about the substance of such an amendment and what land ownership in South Africa should look like, and the EFF is not for turning. 

The EFF will not support a constitutional amendment that doesn't entail the nationalisation of all land, while the ANC favours a system of mixed land ownership.

The National Assembly adopted the report with 209 votes to 91 and no abstentions, with the ANC, EFF, NFP, UDM, AIC and APC supporting the adoption and the DA, IFP, FF Plus, Cope and ACDP not supporting it.

In his speech during the debate on the report, ANC MP Vincent Smith said it is important to emphasise that land reform must not disrupt the economy, it must enhance agricultural productivity and not disrupt food security.

READ: National Assembly adopts report on land expropriation without compensation

He went further to say that expropriation without compensation will not be a panacea and that there is a need for a "policy overhaul". He said that the ANC advocates a mixed ownership model, with private, state and communal ownership. 

At a press conference shortly after the vote, Malema described the mixed ownership model as "based on confused economic policy".

He said the EFF will not budge on their policy – or "cardinal pillar" – that all land must be nationalised. 

He said they are not in negotiations with the ANC on the land question. 

"Our cardinal pillar number one is non-negotiable, and the temptation from some of us in the EFF to even want to compromise that cardinal pillar is a cardinal sin," Malema said.

"The ANC will present its position, we will present our position and we will vote when the time is right."

"As long as I’m here, I will never present a proposal to the EFF that says we must agree with a mixed ownership of the land."

Steve Swart and Vincent Smith

ANC MP Vincent Smith with ACDP MP Steve Swart at a meeting of the Joint Constitutional Review Committee last month. (Jan Gerber, News24)

For a constitutional amendment to pass, a two-thirds majority is needed in the National Assembly, meaning 267 votes. As things stand, the ANC will be three votes short if the EFF doesn't vote in favour of an amendment.

However, it seems highly unlikely that an amendment bill will be brought to the National Assembly before Parliament rises in March before next year's election, which will change the dynamic.

The debate followed the now familiar pattern with parties supporting an amendment – the ANC, EFF, UDM, NFP, AIC and APC – focusing on the need to redress the historic dispossession of black South Africans, and the parties opposing an amendment – the DA, IFP, FF Plus, Cope and the ACDP – saying there is no need to amend the Constitution to effect substantial land reform and the ANC failed to implement proper land reform policies. 

The parties opposed to an amendment also focused on what it considers flaws in the CRC's process, mostly in relation to how the committee handled the hundreds of thousands written submissions it received. The ANC and EFF, however, vouched for the procedural integrity of the committee's work.

The report is up for consideration in the National Council of Provinces on Wednesday.

ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu will on Thursday formally table a motion in the National Assembly for the establishment of an Ad Hoc Committee to deal with the actual amendment of Section 25 of the Constitution.

The DA said on Tuesday that it will challenge the report in court when passed by both houses. 

AfriForum also has a case before the court asking that the report is reviewed and set aside. The first part of its case – that Tuesday's proceedings be interdicted – was dismissed in the Western Cape High Court on Friday.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the organisation said "this is not the end of the battle and that AfriForum’s fight against the acceptance of the report will be continued in the courts at full steam".

In a statement ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu said: "The ANC is ready to defend this process against parties that have threatened legal action against Parliament to ostensibly block this transformative step. We will defend the right of the people who gave us a mandate to address the original sin of land dispossession."

Read more on:    anc  |  eff  |  land  |  land expropriation
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