The Trade union Solidarity’s Institute for Constitutional and Labour Law Studies (ICLLS) has delivered strong criticism to the portfolio committee on agriculture and land affairs against the proposed Provision of Land and Assistance Amendment Bill, claiming that the amendment could have unconstitutional consequences for South Africa’s minority groups.
According to Johan Kruger, the executive director of the ICLLS, the purpose of the proposed Provision of Land and Assistance Amendment Bill would be to amend the current act in such a way as to allow only previously disadvantaged people to qualify for benefits in future. However, people who are not considered to be previously disadvantaged in terms of the country’s old apartheid policies would be excluded from benefiting from the act. s the act currently stands, people from minority groups also qualify to benefit from it.
“If the amendment bill is approved the minister of agriculture and land affairs, Lulama Xingwana, will have the authority to make state land available to qualifying persons and assist them in acquiring immovable property, businesses, going concerns, or shares in body corporates or in certain trusts,” explained Kruger. “Government would make funds available for this. “Persons who are classified as previously disadvantaged and who already own land would, however, also qualify to receive land and assistance.
This could be to the detriment of other persons from the previously disadvantaged groups who don’t already own land.” statement by the ICLLS added, “the amendment bill is potentially unconstitutional and could limit the rights of persons who are not classified as previously disadvantaged. “This could be unfair and is not justifiable in an open and democratic society based on the principles of human dignity, equality and freedom”. Kruger concluded that he was also of the opinion that the proposed amendment bill formed part of the government’s renewed efforts to accelerate land reform in SA. – Staff reporter