LAND EXPROPRIATION WITHOUT COMPENSATION

The issue of land in South Africa is known to be a sensitive topic.

In recent years there have been many changes and talks of land reformation and expropriation of land.

In February 2018 a motion was successfully passed by the National assembly with regards to the expropriation of land without compensation, which aims at amending s25 of the Constitution.

The original motion called for the establishment of an ad hoc committee to review and amend section 25 of the Constitution to make it possible for the State to expropriate land in the public interest, without compensation. An amendment to the motion was however adopted, whereby the Constitutional Review Committee will determine the outcome of the motion.

In order to amend the Constitution, two-thirds of the National Assembly must vote for a proposed amendment and, in the National Council of Provinces, six of the nine provinces must vote in favour of the proposed amendment.

The motion is currently sitting with Parliaments review committee which will determine the fate of the proposed amendment.

Members of the public were invited to make written submissions to the Constitutional review committee by 31 May 2018.This was extended to 15 June 2018.

The committee members will then travel to the various provinces to conduct meetings prior to submitting their report to the National Assembly by 30 August 2018.

What is land expropriation and what does s25 of the Constitution say about land expropriation?

Land expropriation is land that is taken by the state.

Section 25 (2) and (3) of the constitution reads as follows:

(2) Property may be expropriated only in terms of law of general application—

(a) for a public purpose or in the public interest; and

(b) subject to compensation, the amount of which and the time and manner of payment of which have either been agreed to by those affected or decided or approved by a court.

(3) The amount of the compensation and the time and manner of payment must be just and equitable, reflecting an equitable balance between the public interest and the interests of those affected, having regard to all relevant circumstances, including—

(a) the current use of the property;

(b) the history of the acquisition and use of the property;

(c) the market value of the property;

(d) the extent of direct state investment and subsidy in the acquisition and beneficial capital improvement of the property; and

(e) the purpose of the expropriation.

From the above it is evident that, according to Section 25 of the Constitution, an expropriation subject to payment of compensation may only be carried out if it benefits public purposes or is in public interests,

Should the amendment be effected, land will be expropriated without any compensation to the owner of the land.

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