South Africa: Politics in the Time of Expropriation Without Compensation


A draft Constitutional Amendment Bill to expressly allow expropriation without compensation will be published next week, ahead of public comments. That was the conclusion of a meandering committee meeting -- and the next step in a path that started 22 months ago amid roiling electioneering.

Given how the EFF drove compensationless expropriation of land for some 15 months ahead of the May 2019 elections -- "Our land and jobs, now" was their campaign slogan -- their absence at committee was glaring on Thursday.

To recap, the push for compensationless expropriation started in late February 2018 from a motion EFF leader Julius Malema brought. The ANC, fresh from its 2017 Nasrec conference that had adopted land expropriation without compensation at the last minute, decided to support it -- with some amendments, including ditching total state ownership.

A year earlier, the governing ANC sharply dismissed a similar EFF motion, saying it was "not going be told what to do" and, in any case, expropriation without compensation was unconstitutional.

But then, that's politics.

The upshot of this historical agreement across the floor of the National Assembly was an unprecedented public participation process, including public hearings at 34 venues across South Africa including dorpies,...

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