National Assembly fails to pass constitutional amendment to allow land expropriation without compensation

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The National Assembly has failed to pass the proposal for land expropriation without compensation.
The National Assembly has failed to pass the proposal for land expropriation without compensation.
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  • The National Assembly has not passed a constitutional amendment to allow expropriation without compensation.
  • The ANC failed to muster the required two-thirds majority, as both the DA and EFF voted against the bill.
  • EFF leader Julius Malema encouraged illegal land grabs.

The National Assembly couldn't pass the amendment to Section 25 of the Constitution to allow for expropriation without compensation on Tuesday.

The ANC failed to muster the required two-thirds majority as neither the DA nor the EFF supported the amendment.

In the end, 204 MPs voted in favour of the bill and 145 against, with no abstentions. A total of 267 votes is required for a two-thirds majority. 

During the debate, ANC MP Mathole Motshekga, who chaired the ad hoc committee that drafted the bill, said the House had an opportunity by adopting the bill to "eradicate the original sin in the interest of all South Africans".

He said the bill sought to address the "crime against the African humanity" – the dispossession of land.

"Those who are not supporting this bill are saying the suffering of African people in particular and black people, in general, should continue until sometime in the future when they are in power, something that will never happen," he said.

DA MP Annelie Lotriet said the Constitution and Section 25 were not stumbling blocks in the way of land reform.

"Creating uncertainty around property rights goes counter to the rule of law," she said.

"There is no need to amend Section 25, and this bill falls foul of the Bill of Rights."

EFF leader Julius Malema called the ANC sellouts "captured by white monopoly capital".

He said the ANC was preoccupied with maintaining the status quo and protecting the property rights of white landowners.

He called on people to take back the land by whatever means necessary.

"We call on South Africans to know that it is now in their hands. They must stop trusting that the ANC can do anything in its power to give them the land back. They must take it upon themselves to reclaim that which was stolen from them, and the EFF will be fully behind them when they engage in that struggle of taking back the land that was stolen from them by children of criminals."

READ | Land expropriation: ANC, EFF drift further apart on Section 25 amendments

'Debate is part of a continuum'

While a chasm between the EFF and ANC on which form the amendment should take was apparent from the start of the process, it became clear that the writing was on the wall for the bill in May this year.

Malema then said the party would never support an amendment that did not place all land in state custodianship.

Even though President Cyril Ramaphosa distanced himself from state custodianship, the ANC included a provision to place some land in state custodianship – which is in the bill adopted by the committee. This did not appease the EFF.

The DA has been staunchly opposed to any amendment to allow expropriation without compensation from the inception of the process in February 2018.

READ | It's not the end of the road if Bill fails to pass, says ANC ahead of land reform debate

On Monday, the ANC caucus, in an unusual step, issued a communiqué on its position ahead of the debate, perhaps anticipating the outcome of the vote.

"For the ANC, the debate is part of a continuum and not an event. Whether or not the ANC gets a two-thirds majority, land reform and in particular, the land redistribution programme and programmes that address the hunger for land and support, will continue through policy, programme and further draft legislation that will be brought to Parliament," reads the document.

The Expropriation Bill, a piece of legislation separate from the constitutional amendment, is still before Parliament.

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