Land ex­pro­pri­a­tion ques­tions an­swered

Vuk'uzenzele - - Rural Development - Al­li­son Cooper

South Africans have many ques­tions around land re­form fol­low­ing the Na­tional As­sem­bly’s adop­tion of a mo­tion to amend the coun­try’s Con­sti­tu­tion to al­low for the ex­pro­pri­a­tion of land with­out com­pen­sa­tion. Vuk’uzenele spoke to gov­ern­ment to get th­ese ques­tions an­swered for our read­ers.

Why is land re­form needed? The process of land re­form dates back to the 1913 Na­tives Land Act, which was passed to al­lo­cate only about seven per­cent of arable land to Africans. In the 24 years since South Africa’s democ­racy, the prom­ise of hav­ing land re­turned has not been re­alised by mil­lions who live in poverty.

Will Sec­tion 25 of the Con­sti­tu­tion change? Par­lia­ment is con­sid­er­ing whether this sec­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion needs to be amended as part of the process.

How will the process un­fold? The Joint Con­sti­tu­tional Re­view Com­mit­tee un­der­took an ex­ten­sive na­tion-wide pub­lic hear­ing process from June to Au­gust and de­lib­er­a­tions took place from 4 and 7 Septem­ber.

Par­lia­ment is now con­sid­er­ing whether Sec­tion 25 of the Con­sti­tu­tion needs to be amended. If Par­lia­ment agrees, gov­ern­ment will draft and in­tro­duce a Bill to give ef­fect to the mo­tion and spec­ify the amend­ment word­ing.

Through di­a­logue and a con­sul­ta­tion process an am­i­ca­ble so­lu­tion will be found to reignite and grow South Africa’s econ­omy.

How will the new land re­form mea­sures be ap­plied?

The pro­posed amend­ment would re­in­force the fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ples of the prop­erty clause which, among other things, pro­hibits the ar­bi­trary de­pri­va­tion of prop­erty and holds that ex­pro­pri­a­tion is pos­si­ble in the pub­lic in­ter­est, sub­ject to just and eq­ui­table com­pen­sa­tion.

When will the process of land and ben­e­fi­ciary iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and con­di­tions for own­er­ship be con­firmed?

This will only un­fold once the Par­lia­men­tary process is com­plete and a clear way for­ward has been found.

How will the process of land re­form bring about trans­for­ma­tion of the agri­cul­tural sec­tor in a man­ner that does not af­fect pro­duc­tion and jobs?

Ac­cess to land can im­prove the qual­ity of life for all South Africans. There is a need to make land avail­able to peo­ple who want to work it, to in­crease agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion and grow the econ­omy. Land re­form will not erode prop­erty rights. It will en­sure that all South Africans’ rights, not only those who cur­rently own land, are strength­ened.

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