Constitution not impediment to land reform - Cronin

2017-06-13 21:12
Jeremy Cronin (Picture: Supplied)

Jeremy Cronin (Picture: Supplied)

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Cape Town - The Constitution is a clarion call for land reform, not an impediment to it, says Deputy Minister of Public Works Jeremy Cronin.

He was speaking in a debate on land reform in the National Assembly. The debate was called for by the National Freedom Party's Sibusiso Mncwabe, under the topic: "Speeding up land reform by using the limitation clause in the Constitution to bypass the failed 'willing seller, willing buyer policy'".

Cronin welcomed Mncwabe's commitment to speeding up land reform within the bounds of the Constitution, but said their idea of using the Constitution's limitation clause is misguided.

He, and several other speakers, pointed out that there is no mention of the "willing seller, willing buyer" principle in the Constitution.

Cronin said land reform must be about productive lives and sustainable livelihoods, rather than meeting quotas. He also said well-located state land must be released for land reform and that compensation was a hurdle in land reform.

"Compensation could in certain cases be merely a token," he said.

He also referred to a recent court ruling which stated that a just and equitable price was not the same as market price and that market price must not be given more weight than the other things that the Constitution stipulates have to be taken into account when determining the compensation for expropriated property.

These are the current use of the property, the history of the acquisition and use of the property, the extent of direct state investment and subsidy in the acquisition and beneficial capital improvement of the property and the purpose of the expropriation.


The Economic Freedom Fighters' Sipho Mbatha repeated the EFF's oft-expressed call for land expropriation without compensation. He said since the EFF came to Parliament, they have offered their 6% to the ANC to change the Constitution to make expropriation without compensation possible, but the ANC lacks the political will and understanding of people's needs.

"Today our people are left with the Constitution. They cannot eat the Constitution. They cannot settle in the Constitution."

Cronin responded to this. "The EFF's position on this topic is a remarkable achievement. It manages to be both consistent and incoherent."

He said while they offered their vote to the ANC, they give their votes in municipalities to the DA, who is against no compensation.

The DA speakers said it is not the "willing buyer, willing seller" principle which impedes land reform, but the government's poor performance.

DA MP Thandeka Mbabama, in her maiden speech, said President Jacob Zuma contradicted his own party on land reform while going the populist route.

"The DA does not believe in expropriation without compensation," she said.

Freedom Front Plus leader Dr Pieter Groenewald warned that expropriation without compensation could lead to a civil war. He was chided by the EFF, Cronin, Mncwabe and the DA's Thomas Walters for his war talk.

Read more on:    jeremy cronin  |  land reform

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