AN ad hoc committee of the South African Parliament on Friday adopted an amendment bill that will allow expropriation of land without compensation, paving the way for onward voting in the National Assembly, the lower house.
The bill was endorsed in an online meeting by the majority of members in the Ad Hoc Committee to Initiate and Introduce Legislation Amending Section 25 of the Constitution with three negative votes, three years after the ad hoc committee was established.
After the committee adopts a report for submission to the 400-member National Assembly next Wednesday, the bill will be sent to the lower house to vote. If the lower house passes the bill, the bill will then be referred to the National Council of Provinces, the upper house, for engagement with the provinces on the bill.
The bill, which takes into consideration of public opinions through extensive public engagements, including public hearings and submissions, is aimed at addressing ‘the historic wrongs caused by the arbitrary dispossession of land,’ ensuring equitable access to land, and further empowering the majority of South Africans to be productive participants in ownership, food security and agricultural reform programmes.
South Africa’s land issue goes back more than a century to the 1913 Natives Land Act, which made thousands of black families forcibly removed from their land.
The act limited African land ownership to seven percent and later 13 percent through the 1936 Native Trust and Land Act of South Africa. It restricted black people from buying or occupying land except as employees of a white master.