Members of the public must clearly understand the two legislative processes currently at play to establish a principle that land could be expropriated for zero compensation, namely the Expropriation Bill process and the Draft Constitution 18th Amendment Bill process. Free State Agriculture (FSA) has urged not only farmland owners but also all property owners, to make use of the extended period for comments on the Expropriation Bill.
According to FSA, it is far easier to accept the principle of expropriation without compensation through the legislative process that only requires a 50% majority in parliament. In contrast, a chapter 2 constitutional amendment requires the support of two-thirds of parliament – hence the importance to stop the Expropriation Bill in its current form.
FSA is opposed to expropriation without compensation. The organisation views the introduction of expropriation without compensation as a political and electioneering tool, and not as a just and equitable mechanism to increase and strengthen property rights for all South Africans. Looking at the current track record, previously disadvantaged individuals will not own land and government will only increase their own land ownership.
Expropriation clause is not in SA’s best interest
Currently, the state owns 5,300 farms in South Africa. FSA believes that the new clause, among others, proposing the circumstances in which land expropriation without compensation could be justified ‘in the public interest’, be removed from the Expropriation Bill as well as any reference to zero compensation, as this ultimately will not be in the best interest of the country in the long term.
The FSA online petition gives members of the public more background information, as well as the FSA action plan to oppose certain unacceptable provisions of the current Bill. These can be found on www.vrystaatlandbou.co.za/stop-expropriation/.
Written submissions can now be made until 28 February 2021, after which FSA will guide its members to participate in the public hearings to follow.