Expropriation Bill rife with constitutional concerns, threatens security of property - Sakeliga
26 February 2021
The Expropriation Bill’s attempt to gain the power to expedite and make easier to wield, government’s power to expropriate private property, should be strictly limited and circumscribed. The bill should honour property rights and limit State power.
These were some of the appeals in business organisation Sakeliga's
Piet le Roux, CEO of Sakeliga, said the bill should be aligned with international best practice: “Best practice regards expropriation as a serious, highly-disruptive and costly infringement of livelihoods, individual and community autonomy, as well as productive economic coordination. The mechanisms of expropriation and deprivation of rights ought to be applied very sparingly, if at all. In the case of expropriation, State power is exceedingly tipped in the favour of the state and its political agents, and against legal subjects. This requires severe limits on State power.”
Martin van Staden, Legal Fellow at Sakeliga, comments: “The bill is evidently based on a desire to make it as easy for government as possible to expropriate property when it deems fit. This agenda is contrary to the purpose of expropriation law, which is to effectively, practically
The most contentious aspect of the bill is its allowance of expropriation without (or for nil) compensation or a dramatic deviation from market value, a phenomenon government is attempting to render constitutional through a separate process to amend section 25 of the Constitution. Expropriation without compensation, particularly in the open-ended manner conceived of in the bill, will be disastrous for South Africa’s economy and prospects of growth and investment.