'Progressive' expropriation bill passed in NCOP

2016-05-18 18:45
(Jerusha Sukhdeo-Raath, News24)

(Jerusha Sukhdeo-Raath, News24)

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Cape Town - The expropriation bill, which amends the way the government forcibly takes land, was passed in the National Council of Provinces on Wednesday.

The next step would be to send it to President Jacob Zuma to be signed into law.

Its intention is to align the government's expropriations processes with the Constitution, which makes compensation a requisite.

Some of the features of the bill are a step-by-step process, from valuation to expropriation, and the rights and responsibilities of the land owner. The owner is, for example, expected to keep the land and its businesses maintained until ownership changes.

It makes the courts the final arbiter of disputes and gives local authorities the chance to have a say over the effect that expropriation will have on municipal planning.

Chairperson of the select committee on economic and business development, Boingotlo Nthebe, called the bill's adoption "progressive".

"The bill is consistent with the Constitution and will make sure that the land – which is much needed for infrastructural projects – is availed without bringing about constitutional challenges. This bill is not replacing the need and commitment by this administration for consultation," he said in a statement.

The DA-run Western Cape province did not support the bill. The DA previously said it was not opposed to expropriation, but was worried that "property" was not defined.

This meant that even intellectual property, under a strict interpretation, could be expropriated, the DA feared.

The EFF is opposed to expropriation with compensation. The FF Plus has expressed concerns over the bill being used for "land grabs”.

The bill replaces the Expropriation Act of 1975 and forms part of a raft of changes the government is making in its approach to fix the imbalance in white and black ownership of land. It is in addition to other laws and proposed bills, such as the Regulation of Agricultural Land Holdings Bill which limits the amount of hectarage individuals own.

The National Assembly passed the bill on February 23.

A total of 143 720 land claims had been received by March 31 2016.

Read more on:    cape town  |  parliament 2016

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