On Tuesday, in a monumental move, Parliament passed the motion to carry out land expropriation without compensation.
The motion which was brought forward by Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader, Julius Malema, will include a review of the Constitution. The motion was passed by a majority vote of 241 in favour versus only 83 votes against the proposal.
“We must ensure that we restore the dignity of our people without compensating the criminals who stole our land,” Malema told Parliament while presenting the motion.
#LandExpropriation Malema: “we don’t seek revenge, we don’t wish for their suffering. All our people ever wanted was their land to which their dignity is rooted”
— Yashini Padayachee (@YashPaddy) February 27, 2018
While the ANC amended the motion, they also supported it with deputy chief whip Dorries Eunice Dlakude saying that the party recognises the current policy instruments may be hindering effective land reform. Dlakude was referencing the willing-buyer willing-seller policy, as well as other provisions, set out in Section 25 of the Constitution.
Article 25 of the Constitution governs determines that land may be expropriated, and that the compensation paid must be equitable and just. It also specifically states that the history of the land and how it was acquired must be taken into account. It also states that the country’s commitment to redress historical injustices should be taken into account as well. In short, the Constitution does not allow for land expropriation without compensation.
During President Cyril Ramaphosa’s maiden State of the Nation Address two weeks ago, he made a direct a appeal to poorer black voters, saying that he would speed up the transfer of land to black people in the country. The ANC is under pressure to deal with racial disparities in land ownership.
According to a press statement released by DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Ken Robertson MP, the Constitution does not need to be changed to accommodate land expropriation without compensation. “We don’t need to change the Constitution, we need to implement it and find efficient solutions,” he says.
Ramaphosa also said that he would pursue land expropriation without compensation in a way that would increase agricultural production and improve food security in the country.
In conjunction with its Upper house, the National Assembly has instructed its Constitutional Review Committee to review the Constitution and report back by the 30th of August, 2018.