South Africa: Gazetting of Expropriation Bill Not a Silver Bullet

Deputy President David Mabuza says the gazetting of the Expropriation Bill, which, once passed into law, will determine when government can expropriate land without compensation.

This comes after government gazetted the Expropriation Bill of 2020 earlier this month which, once passed into law, will ensure that comprehensive land redistribution through expropriation for public purpose or in the public interest is effected.

"Expropriation of property with nil compensation is not a silver bullet.

"It is only but one acquisition mechanism that in appropriate cases will enable land reform and redress, as recommended by the Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture.

"However, the Bill does bring certainty to South Africans and investors as it outlines how expropriation can be done and on what basis. This legislative certainty is critical as we rebuild the economy and invest in our communities," he said.

The introduction of the Expropriation Bill is anchored on the findings of President Cyril Ramaphosa's Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture, chaired by the late Dr Vuyo Mahlati, which recommended that the Expropriation Act No. 63 of 1975 preceded the 1996 Constitution, and therefore does not align with the transformative mandate of the Constitution.

The panel made a recommendation that this Act must be urgently replaced by the Expropriation Act that is in line with the values and spirit of the Constitution.

Addressing the plenary session on Thursday, the Deputy President said in addition to the Expropriation Bill, government took practical steps to ensure that all claimed land in the hands of government is released to the claimants as part of its contribution to accelerated land restitution.

"Through the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, government has announced the process for the release of state land for allocation to beneficiaries across all Provinces.

"This will make more land available for use to those yearning for access to land.

"We have adopted the National Policy on Beneficiary Selection and Land Allocation, which provides for a more systematic approach to redressing and correcting past injustices of access to land through ensuring that those who are eligible for land reform are provided with actual access to land.

"In this regard, this land allocation policy provides guidance on who should be selected as beneficiaries and what they are eligible to get.

"We are clear that the primary beneficiaries will be women and youth who constitute the majority of our population as well as people with disabilities who have long been economically marginalised."

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