Expropriating land without compensation will be a "befitting tribute" to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, says Ronald Lamola.

Madikizela-Mandela died on Monday, and Lamola was part of a delegation of the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) which visited her house on Thursday.

The NEC and national working committee member made it clear that the government can start doing this within the ambit of Section 25 of the Constitution, without having to amend it.

Lamola, who was elected to the ANC’s highest decision-making body in December during its national conference, was deputy president of the ANC Youth League when Julius Malema was still its president.

The National Assembly recently passed a motion in Parliament in which it tasked the constitutional review committee with looking into Section 25 to allow for the expropriation without compensation of land, in the public interest.

As it stands now, the Constitution allows for expropriation of land in terms of the law of general application in which property can be expropriated for public purpose or in the public interest, subject to compensation that must be "just and equitable".

Sub-section 8 of this so-called property clause, however, says that, "No provision of this section may impede the state from taking legislative and other measures to achieve land, water and related reform, in order to redress the results of past racial discrimination," provided that any departure from the provisions is in accordance with Section 36, which deals with the limitation of rights.

Lamola told Business Day that he thought Madikizela-Mandela should be honoured by ensuring, as she wanted, "the socio-economic cries of the African majority, in particular young black women, are taken care of and the ANC delivers on those [promises], including the land question, which she used to speak about very fondly".

He said he thought the ANC needed "to continue the process to expropriate land without compensation, because the Constitution allows for it to happen". He said he did not know why it was not already happening, but that he believed "the government was waking up".

"We are saying from the ANC side, let government proceed to expropriate and ensure that not all properties are given market value. Because it is allowed [within Section 25]." The processes by the constitutional review committee, should not stop government from proceeding with land expropriation, he said, adding, "I think that will be a befitting tribute to Mama Winnie".

Dr Mathole Motshekga, a member of Parliament’s joint committee on constitutional review, said Lamola was correct in his interpretation, but what the committee was dealing with were the modalities to make the process less "onerous". He said the process in Parliament dealt with where people held legal title deeds, as it had to be done within the Constitution as it affects the rights of other people, in contrast to land that was allowed to lie fallow, or where the owners could not be found.

"There is enough room to do what he suggested can be done, but we are saying where the situation is clear, everything has to be done within the law. We are not talking about exceptions."

Motshekga said the process currently allowed for in the Constitution is an "onerous process", and the outcome of the process should be to make the process "easier and less onerous, but [still] legal and constitutional". This is why there was an expropriation bill in front of Parliament, so the difficult conditions for achieving it could be addressed.