Publication of Draft Expropriation Bill unnecessary provocation – EFF

Fighters say attempt to push through bill is undermining Section 25 amendment process

EFF statement on the Draft Expropriation Bill

12 October 2020

The Economic Freedom Fighters notes with dismay the premature publication of the draft Expropriation Bill by the Minister of Public Works. Patricia de Lille, which was published on the Government Gazette on the 9th of October.

We view the publication of this Bill as an unnecessary provocation, and an attempt to undermine the work of the Ad Hoc Committee on amending Section 25 of the Constitution. to allow for expropriation of land without compensation. The Ad Hoc Committee was given the task of completing a Constitutional Amendment Bill. which must provide for the expropriation of land without compensation. as recommended by the Constitutional Review Committee in 2018.

South Africa is a constitutional democracy and all law and conduct must logically flow from the Constitution. When we tabled our motion for the amendment of the Constitution to allow for expropriation of land without compensation, we were cognizant of the fact that if there has to be a thoroughgoing process of land justice in this country, the Constitution would have to be amended.

Most political parties in parliament, including the ruling party, agreed with this view.

The attempt to push through the Expropriation Bill is undermining that whole process. and the investment parliament has made to complete that constitutional amendment process. It presumes that the constitutional amendment process will not result in any fundamental changes to land laws in this country and that it will continue being business as usual.

This is evidence of the entrenchment of right-wing politics in the ruling party, and that in their attempts to please their white masters, they are prepared to dispense with the aspirations of millions of black people for the return of their land.

At a substantive level, the Bill is merely recycling previous versions of the Bill that were shelved before, and will not lead to any fundamental changes to land reform in this country. We have previously cautioned against a piecemeal approach to expropriation and demonstrated that this approach would essentially usher in a state of permanent uncertainty about what land will be expropriated, for what purposes.

This approach is more susceptible to abuse and corruption.

Secondly, the Bill gives the courts an administrative function that must essentially be the function of the administrative bureaucracy. By giving the courts powers to determine the amount of compensation payable as a result of compensation, the Bills risks clogging the courts with administrative functions, and by so doing, removes from the courts the function of reviewing these administrative actions.

If it is the courts that determine the amount of compensation if any, then who must review these decisions?

More dangerously, this will make land reform a litigation based exercised, and not a political and administrative one. This is a sure way of ensuring that land transfers take years to complete or stall it forever.

The type of land this Bill is targeting for expropriation renders the whole Bill a joke. Targeting abandoned, underutilised, and State land for expropriation will not do anything to change the demographics of landholding in this country radically.

We would like to warn the ruling party that there can be no turning back on the commitment made in parliament to amend the Constitution to allow for expropriation of land without compensation, for changing the very nature of land tenure in this country to allow for public ownership of all the land, to ensure an equitable distribution of land.

We reject this Expropriation Bill; it is nothing more than an attempt by the cowards in power to soothe the fears of their white handlers. It is this kind of cowardice that encourages and emboldens anti-black racists to disrespect and show a middle finger to black people and to undermine the rule of law and the authority of the state with impunity.

Issued by Vuyani Pambo, National Spokesperson, EFF, 12 October 2020