One of the most frightening aspects of the draft expropriation bill is that it gives our 257 municipalities the right to expropriate property without compensation. The biggest demand for land is in urban areas, so municipalities will be the authorities most likely to do the expropriating. They would be given dangerous powers most are not competent or equipped to use. Only 33 of our 257 municipalities obtained clean audits last year. The auditor-general has complained of the lack of accountability and that his advice is simply ignored. In addition, there is a vast corruption problem with, for example, municipalities collecting money for electricity and spending it on other projects instead of paying Eskom. Municipalities owe the electricity utility R17bn and cannot be trusted to implement expropriation without compensation fairly and with the administrative justice demanded by section 33 of the constitution. The bill gives five examples where “nil compensation” would be justified, bu...

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