Land expropriation debate in quotes

(Adriaan Basson, News24)
(Adriaan Basson, News24)

Land expropriation has been at the forefront of the national debate over the past few days. The Economic Freedom Fighters tabled a motion in the National Assembly on Tuesday calling for the amendment of the Constitution to accelerate land transformation. But the ANC retaliated by saying that it did not agree with any form of land expropriation without compensation. The EFF's motion was defeated in the House by 261 votes to 33. Two MPs abstained.

Here's where South Africa is on the subject, in quotes:

“[In order] to achieve all the goals mentioned in the state of the nation address, the government is busy amending all the laws and policies to enable faster land reform, including land expropriation without compensation as provided for in the Constitution.” - President Jacob Zuma, who spoke at the launch of Operation Phakisa on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development in Pretoria on Friday. He said 2017 is the year of “taking land back to the people” and for this reason government will seek to change legislation to allow for land expropriation without compensation..

"People of South Africa, where you see a beautiful land, take it, it belongs to you." - Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema, who led the debate in Parliament on Tuesday on amending Section 25 of the Constitution, calling for land expropriation without compensation.

"If you vote against this, it’s a waste of time. We are already giving our people the land and we are not ashamed." - Malema, who told the House that the EFF would add its 6% to the ANC’s 62% to get the two-thirds required to amend the Constitution, and called on the ruling party to support the motion to set up an ad hoc committee on the issue.

"We all know that the Dutch gangsters arrived here and took our land by force. The struggle has since been about the return of the land into the hands of rightful owners." - Malema revisiting history as motivation for his party’s stance for expropriation without compensation.

"We remain a conquered nation because white monopoly capital still owns the means of production, and at the centre of that is the land question. Black people, all of us, we need to unite and amend the Constitution so that we can expropriate land without compensation." - Malema in the National Assembly.

"We are not going to be told what to do. We are not in an alliance with anyone else." - The ANC’s Phumuzile Ngwenya-Mabila, who strongly opposed Malema’s call, and said expropriation without compensation was unconstitutional and not fit in line with ANC policy, despite Zuma's call. 

"We need to respect and uphold the Constitution as citizens of this country and members of this House” - Ngwenya-Mabila said the party totally rejected the motion, saying expropriation of land should be done in the public interest, and not for EFF political interests. The current law, expropriation with compensation, takes into account the current use of land, the history of acquisition, the market value of property, the extent of state investment, and capital improvement of the property.

"The property clause allows for the court to determine the compensation and the only requirement is that it must be just and equitable – in line with the guiding principles of the Constitution." - Ngwenya-Mabila continued.

"Any land redistribution must include compensation according to the Constitution, but it is not a prerequisite and therefore can’t be used by the EFF as a stumbling block." - DA MP Annelie Lotriet

"The EFF must stop blaming white people for government’s inability to redistribute the land efficiently." - Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald, who said white people have become the scapegoat for the government’s inefficiency.

"The EFF's motion is misplaced and overlooks various programmes and reviews currently underway. The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform has already undertaken to do a pre-colonial audit of land ownership, use and occupation patterns." - The ANC's chief whip's spokesperson Nonceba Mhlauli said in a statement yesterday.

"Once the audit has been completed, a single law will be developed to address the issue of land restitution and the necessary constitutional amendments will be undertaken to effect this process." - Mhlauli, who also said Parliament was in the process of reviewing the Expropriation Bill which was sent back by President Jacob Zuma for more public participation

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