Picture: 123RF/LOES KIEBOOM
Picture: 123RF/LOES KIEBOOM

Investors anxious about government’s proposals to expropriate land without compensation are likely to know by the end of March 2020 what the redrafted section 25 of the constitution, or the property clause, will look like.

On Thursday, the National Assembly agreed to re-establish a multiparty ad hoc committee to initiate and introduce legislation amending section 25 of the constitution or the property clause.

The amendment of the constitution is meant to ease expropriation of land without compensation to address skewed land ownership patterns dating back to apartheid and colonial eras.

The previous democratic parliament, whose five-year term ended in May, agreed to establish such a committee. However, the committee could not complete its task by the time the fifth democratic parliament was dissolved and it was recommended that the sixth parliament should conclude the matter.

The decision to establish such an ad hoc committee followed parliament’s adoption of the report of the constitutional review committee on review of section 25 of the constitution in December 2018.

The report recommended that parliament amends section 25 of the constitution to make explicit that which is implicit in the constitution, regarding expropriation of land without compensation, as a legitimate option for land reform.

The re-established ad-hoc committee is expected to report to the National Assembly by March 31  2020 and would be composed of 11 voting members and 14 nonvoting members.

According to a statement released by parliament on Thursday, voting members would be drawn from the ANC (6), the DA (2), the EFF (1) and other smaller parties (2).  The 14 nonvoting members of the National Assembly would be from the ANC (2), DA (1), EFF (1) and other smaller parties (10).

The ad hoc committee would have the general powers of parliamentary committees.

Meanwhile, Deputy President David Mabuza reiterated during a Q&A session in parliament on Thursday that in line with the delegated responsibility to accelerate the land reform programme, government remains committed to pursuing land reform without disrupting agricultural production.

“In this regard our focus will be to ensure the effective coordination of integrated farmer support interventions including small-scale farmer linkages to market value chains.  In the course of the implementation of this programme, we are mindful of the challenges faced by farmers related to drought, which is exacerbated by climate change, as well as rising input costs that impact negatively on agricultural production, resulting in job losses and closure of agricultural enterprises,” said Mabuza.

“As government, we will not allow our agricultural sector to collapse because farmers are the lifeblood of our economy. That is why as part of our response to these challenges we have set aside a package of financial assistance to affected farmers in various provinces,” he said.

phakathib@businesslive.co.za