Land: Even if ANC loses in 2019, expropriation amendment will go ahead - ANC caucus

2018-11-15 17:57

A Constitutional amendment to allow for expropriation of land without compensation will go ahead even if the ANC does not win the next election, the ANC caucus in Parliament said on Thursday.

"I think the pressure [from] South Africans for land reform will exist regardless of which party is in power," said ANC MP Vincent Smith at a press conference.

Smith was speaking after the Joint Constitutional Review Committee adopted a document of recommendations that there be an amendment to the Constitution to make land expropriation without compensation possible.

READ Land: Committee adopts report recommending expropriation without compensation

While not yet law, the recommendation to the House has to go through a lengthy process to be finalised.

He said it was unlikely that the ANC would not be the majority party, but even if this happened there was no escaping land reform.

He also said it was "just not possible" that the actual constitutional amendment would be finalised before the general elections, expected to take place in May next year.

READ: 'Amend or don't amend' - quips exchanged as MPs vote for land expropriation

Election ploy claims denied

Smith warned that if you "do the maths", there will not be enough time before the election to fulfil the requirements.

These include Thursday's recommendations being tabled before the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces.

Following that, there will be a debate on the report, the setting up of a committee to craft the wording of the amendment, a public participation process and a 30-day period for public comment on a draft bill.

Smith denied that the ANC's decision to throw its weight behind the EFF on the proposed amendment was an election ploy.

He said the party believed that the expropriation of land without compensation was "one option" to address landlessness and that "subordinate" laws and the "willing buyer, willing seller" principle were not working.

The EFF's proposal on Thursday that the Constitution be amended to allow for expropriation of land without compensation was accepted with a majority of 12 MPs voting in favour, and four against.

The parties opposed to an amendment were the DA, Cope, ACDP, IFP and FF Plus.

Counterproposal voted down

Parties that supported it were the ANC, EFF, NFP and UDM.

Smith said the realisation that the amendment would not be processed in time for the elections means that the proposal has to be tweaked again to remove the EFF's proviso that it be done before the elections.

On Thursday, EFF deputy leader Floyd Shivambu read the final recommendations to be submitted to the National Assembly.

The DA read a counterproposal saying that the Constitution does not need to be changed, if the government uses existing laws properly. This was voted down.

Meanwhile, some opposition parties are furious over Thursday's recommendation.

They say the process was flawed, that thousands of written submissions were ignored and the process itself is legally reviewable.

ANC, EFF 'taking land rights away'

"This is scary, scary stuff," said FF Plus MP Corné Mulder at a joint press conference by some opposition parties on the adoption earlier on Thursday.

However, parties would wait before going to court for now, and have opted to watch how the process unfolds.

DA MP Thandeka Mbabama said: "Today in a convenient coalition the ANC and EFF voted to take away land rights from South Africans.

"The vote allows government the perfect cover to avoid having to explain their rank failure over the past decades to take land reform seriously," she said.

The opposition parties said they were not against land reform, but believe the processes followed regarding the amendment had been "merely a formality".

A debate on the issue is expected in the National Assembly on November 27.

Land expropriation. (Scan)

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