Majority approve of expropriation bill

Parliament’s portfolio committee on public works recently held its first meeting of the year on the controversial Expropriation Bill, and while ANC MPs on the committee backed the revised bill, opposition parties objected to numerous clauses during a clause-by-clause reading of the bill.

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The clause relating to the determination of compensation was among those that sparked hefty objection from DA and EFF MPs.

“It is not that we are against compensation. On the contrary, we are in favour of it, provided that it is fair and market-related,” said DA MP Anchen Dreyer.

According to Dreyer, the problem with the clause in its current state was that it was too ambiguous. “We want to know who will determine the price and how it will be calculated,” she said.

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The DA’s biggest issue with the bill, however, was with the definition of the word ‘property’. It is currently defined as contemplated in Section 25 of the Constitution where it is stated that property is not confined to land. This is far too vague, said Dreyer.

The DA would like to propose a definition based on legal terms that will clarify what is included and excluded under the definition, she added.

The EFF stood its ground, with MP Marshall Dlamini saying it would continue to reject the clause on compensation for expropriation.

“We are opposing the whole chapter on compensation for expropriation. The reality is that, according to history, land was not bought in the first place and why now, when we are at a reconciliation stage, should we buy the land?” said Dlamini.

Voting commenced at the beginning of February. With the majority supporting the bill, it was likely to be adopted without much amendment, but Dreyer said that the DA would oppose the bill in parliament, using all possible mechanisms at its disposal, if it was passed as is in the National Assembly.