Commercial News

Expropriation Bill sets out process for property grabbing in motion

The Expropriation Bill, which will set the rules under which the state can lay claim to urban and rural property, was passed by the parliamentary portfolio committee on public works yesterday.

The ANC voted in favour of the bill. The DA and UDM voted against it, the IFP abstained and the EFF was absent from proceedings.

The bill will now be debated in the National Assembly, and voted upon.

If passed, public hearings and a vote in the National Council of Provinces follow.

Should the bill be adopted, it will be sent to President Jacob Zuma to sign into law.

The bill gives the minister of public works the right to expropriate land for a public purpose [such as building a road or erecting a power line] or in the public interest, for instance to institute land reform.

It sets out the law of general application for property expropriation, as required in section 25 of the constitution.

The bill details the process to be followed, including the time given as notice of expropriation, the exact steps, how the price of the land is determined and what the appeals processes are.

If the owner of the land is unhappy he or she can approach the courts to determine a fair price for the land.

The ANC used its majority on the portfolio committee to have the bill adopted, but no opposition parties supported it.

The DA raised 21 objections, including that the key terms “property”, “valuer”, “expropriation” and “owner” were so loosely defined they could have unforeseen consequences.

DA MP Anchen Dreyer raised issues regarding how the value of land was determined, and that the authorities can, theoretically, take ownership before making any payment.

The EFF opposes the bill because it supports expropriation without compensation to white owners, claiming land was stolen from black South Africans.

The IFP believes the bill’s provision that the expropriated former owner of a property remains responsible for the upkeep of the property for a while after expropriation to be nonsensical.

The UDM opposed the bill because the definition of “property” was too limited and that the land dispossession compensation date should be earlier than 1913.

 

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