Organisations Urge Government to Expropriate Land in Its Possession First

The Joint Constitutional Review Committee on Friday last week concluded a fruitful four days of oral submissions on whether Section 25 of the Constitution should be amended to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation.

The Co-Chairperson of the committee, Mr Lewis Nzimande said this process of oral submissions emanates from the hundreds of thousands of written submissions the committee received on the subject matter.

Making its submission to the committee, the Banking Association (Basa) said, although they don't share AfriForum's views on the matter, they still felt Section 25 should not be amended as people needed security of tenure and easier interaction between individuals and the banking sector.

The Business Unity South Africa which also made an oral submission to the committee argued that no constitutional amendment is necessary for land reform as the Constitution already makes mention of just and equitable compensation. Ms Tanya Cohen said business endorses the need for land reform but says the pace of land reform has been unacceptably slow. She said land reform has been suboptimal over the last 24 years.

Mr Mike Brown of Nedbank said the bank believes Section 25 of the Constitution is not an impediment to land reform and should not be made a scapegoat.

Committee member, Ms Ntombovuyo Mente told the John Langalibalele Dube Institute which is named after the African National Congress's first President, and which understood the concept of landlessness yet it doesn't support the view of expropriation of land without compensation.

The institute argued that the government should show good will by redistributing the land which is under its possession to the people first, that will lead to others following suit. On land that is owned by the government, the Vumelana Advisory Fund also said the government must release state land for urban development.

Mr Nzimande concluded the hearings by saying the committee will meet on Wednesday (10 September) at Parliament to receive a report from the service provider on written submissions.

Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa