South Africa: Land Grab Bill Back on Books
Hands up all those who believed Zuma when he said he wouldn’t grab the farmers land?? Come on – I said hands up! Oh, you non-believers, you. Well, you were right…..the ANC are at it again….They can now grab if it’s in “the public interest”. Whoa!! Does that mean if I’m interested I can also get some?
Cape Town – Expropriation legislation, aimed at making it easier for government to seize land from farmers who refuse to sell their properties for redistribution, will be reintroduced to parliament next year, Minister of Public Works Geoff Doidge announced on Wednesday.
Doidge withdrew the Expropriation Bill from parliament in 2008 after an outcry over insufficient consultation and its constitutionality. The bill’s critics objected to the notion of white-owned land being expropriated at less than market value. They warned this was not only unjustifiable, but a move that would have dire consequences for South Africa’s creditworthiness.
Tabling his Budget vote speech in parliament, Doidge did not give details of what changes the bill had undergone since its withdrawal and did not say what – if anything – had been done to address concerns about its constitutionality.
But he said it was “imperative for real economic transformation in our country”.
“It [the bill] is currently receiving attention in our department, and is coordinated with the department of rural development and land reform. The joint technical teams are at work, and both ministers will be receiving the report soon,” said Doidge.
The new act will replace the Expropriation Act of 1975, which allows expropriation of land for public purposes. The new legislation aims to broaden this to include expropriation that is “in the public interest”.
The department of land reform has said this is an essential tool if government is going to make good on promises to speed up land affairs and rural development.
Although government is no longer aiming to redistribute 30% of arable agricultural land to black farmers by 2014, it says this figure has to be achieved eventually. The state has only managed to redistribute 5% so far, and it has admitted that 90% of these farms are no longer productive.