Picture: SUPPLIED
Picture: SUPPLIED

An amendment to the constitution to make it clear that expropriation without compensation can be used as a means to address skewed land ownership patterns is a step closer to being a done deal.

On Tuesday, the National Assembly adopted the controversial report on expropriation without compensation despite strong objections by the official opposition, the DA, which has vowed to launch a court challenge.

Early in November, the constitutional review committee formally resolved to recommend that the property section of the constitution be changed, to make it explicit that expropriation without compensation be one of the means available to address skewed land ownership patterns dating back to the colonial and apartheid eras.

The committee ignored objections from various opposition parties, business organisations and some academics, who have argued that the change will deter investment without dealing with the real causes of the slow pace of land reform, almost 25 years after SA’s first democratic elections.

A total of 209 MPs voted in favour of the committee report while 91 voted against it.

The National Council of Provinces is scheduled to discuss and also likely adopt the report on Wednesday.

In 2019, another committee set up by parliament is set to consider the nuts and bolts of how the clause in question should be redrafted.  This process will require further public participation.

This means the process will only likely be finalised after the elections in 2019, leaving the possibility that the constitutional amendment might not happen at all if the parties backing the change fail to win enough votes to secure a two-thirds majority among them.

However, ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu indicated that the party would bring a motion on Thursday to chart the way forward which could fast track the process. 

 

phakatib@businesslive.co.za