The Presidential Advisory panel on Land Reform and Agriculture has recommended that the South African Constitution be amended to allow government to seize land and in certain circumstances, without compensation.
The Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development minister Thoko Didiza released the final report on Sunday which stated that expropriation without compensation could be applied to the following ‘justifiable’ circumstances:
- Abandoned land.
- Land held purely for speculative purposes.
- Land already occupied and used by labour tenants and former labour tensants.
- Inner city buildings with absentee landlords.
The SA Parliament is set to start debates on the proposal in October where is land expropriation bill must clearly detail the meaning of instances where no compensation will be paid.
The report suggested that the Land Claims Court becomes the main expropriation body and that it be given the power to adjudicate all land related matters including the evaluation of the targeted land and what the land owners are entitled to.
The land reform panel is hoping to have the expropriation bill finalised by the end of 2019.
It is expected to present the draft motion to parliament on Thursday but will give the parliamentary committee until March 2020 to report back regarding the proposed land reform law amendments.
The Southern Africa Agri-Initiative (Saai) were disappointed and said the report is flawed as it is not morally justifiable that landowners who purchased their property legally should be forced to suffer without compensation.
Saai Chairperson Dr Theo de Jager said that history contains many falsehoods and contains no information regarding overgrazing, arson, crime or intimidation that landowners experience on a daily basis in South Africa due to land invasions.
The DA shadow deputy minister of Agriculture, Land Reform & Rural Development Thandeka Mbabama said that while legal and thorough land reform is essential to the country, the DA rejected the report as the party feels this is a last attempt by the corrupt ANC government to try and patch up their reputation.
The DA intend on scrutinising the report carefully and should they find land reform is not approached correctly the consequences will be disastrous.