We will 'test' Constitution on land expropriation – ANC

ANC must pass Expropriation Bill now and insert a clause that says 'without compensation', says Ronald Lamola

We will 'test' Constitution on land expropriation - ANC

21 May 2018

The ANC has resolved that it will test the Constitution, as it pertains to land expropriation without compensation.

The party told reporters on Monday that the land summit it hosted over the weekend had resolved that there was nothing wrong with Section 25 of the Constitution, which deals with expropriation with compensation, but that the party needed to address the legislative framework in order to resolve the critical land question.

"The ANC must pass the Expropriation Bill now and insert a clause... that says 'without compensation'," ANC national executive committee member Ronald Lamola said during a briefing at Luthuli House.

The land summit in Boksburg, Ekurhuleni, was held in an attempt to arrive at a united view on how to implement the party's contentious resolution to expropriate land without compensation.

Party leaders have been divided over how the land issue should be dealt with, with some suggesting that the Constitution needed to be amended, while others felt Section 25 of the Constitution was sufficient to allow for redistribution of land without compensation.

Some in the ANC agreed with the EFF's view that all land should belong to the state, and then leased out to people.

In February, Parliament agreed to a motion brought by the EFF to expropriate without compensation, but had tasked a review committee to look into the modalities of doing so.

Lamola told journalists on Monday that the ANC needed to test the legislation, urging the national, provincial and municipal governments, that had powers to expropriate, to go ahead and do so.

"We must look into the possibility of the president taking that bill to the courts, to test out its constitutionality," said Lamola.

He added that once this was done, a lot of the red tape around the issue would disappear.

Lamola said the ongoing debate in the ANC had been around the fact that Section 25 of the Constitution had not been tested.

News24 reported that, in his opening address on Saturday, President Cyril Ramaphosa laid out a task for party members to explore all options to bring about meaningful restitution, redistribution and tenure reform in South Africa.

"To our people, indeed to all people, land is about dignity, it's about identity, it is about security," Ramaphosa said as he launched the inaugural land summit.

Former presidents Kgalema Motlanthe and Jacob Zuma also attended the event.

Motlanthe, while delivering his address on the diagnosis and assessment of progress made by the ANC government in dealing with land reform, urged the party to pay as much attention to land tenure rights in rural areas as it did in urban areas.

Motlanthe also criticised the dynamic between the ANC and tribal leaders when it came to the land question.

"The approach which confronts us as the ANC, must really be to understand that the ANC enjoys support from the people, not traditional leaders, some pledge their support to the ANC. Majority of them are acting as village tin-pot dictators to the people there in the villages," said Motlanthe.