DA gives red light to Expropriation Bill
26 May 2016
The Public Works Portfolio Committee has accepted small changes made by the National Council of Provinces, to two amounts, in the Expropriation Bill. The DA accepts these changes.
However, because the Expropriation Bill essentially remains the same old bill, the DA cannot support it.
The main reason is that there are at least four principles that the bill does not adhere to.
Firstly: In his state of the nation address earlier this year, the President promised that all legislation will be subjected to a socio-economic impact study. Like so many other promises, this promise has also been broken and no impact study has been done for the proposed Expropriation Bill.
Secondly: “Property” is not properly defined. The current interpretation stretches far beyond immovable assets and includes assets such as pension funds and cattle, which could potentially also be expropriated – to the detriment of many ordinary citizens.
Thirdly: The scope of “expropriation” is not defined. This means that state guardianship over assets could potentially not qualify as compensation, and as a result citizens could lose the right of use of their property – without any compensation.
Fourthly: There is no guarantee in the bill that stipulates whether compensation offered for expropriated property would cover outstanding bank loans. It is therefore possible that an expropriated owner could end up without a house or farm, and would still need to pay instalments on an outstanding bank loan. Which bank would grant such loans?
The DA will only be able to vote for the Expropriation Bill if these four principles are adhered to. This, however, is not currently the case.
In conclusion, Honourable Speaker:
It is essential that all citizens know that their property rights are secure. Moreover it is crucial for foreign investment that property rights are secure. The bill in its current form impedes on this confidence.
If this bill is accepted today, it would shock business trust and would further contribute to a junk status downgrade for South Africa.
The DA rejects it.
Issued by Anchen Dreyer, DA Caucus Chairperson, 26 May 2016