The publication of the long-awaited Expropriation Bill is a welcome development.
It specifies the categories of land that will be eligible for expropriation without compensation: unused land held for speculation; abandoned land; unused state land; properties that are a health risk; or land where a court has determined nil compensation under legislation dealing with labour tenants.
Significantly, the bill says that where compensation is paid, it must be "just and equitable", based on the current provisions in the constitution — a stipulation that those concerned about property rights will welcome.
It also addresses the crucial and emotive issue of land redistribution.
"It is a recognition of the urgency required to address the injustices of the past and restore land rights in a responsible manner, while ensuring that food security is maintained, that equitable spatial justice is achieved, and that continuation of investment to expand our industrial base is secured," Deputy President David Mabuza said on releasing the bill, which was gazetted last week.
However, the process to amend section 25 of the constitution is still under way and unlikely to be abandoned, despite the Expropriation Bill’s ability to ensure equitable land redistribution.
The EFF and the radical economic transformation faction of the ANC are unlikely to be satisfied; they are likely to continue pulling President Cyril Ramaphosa by the nose on the issue, to the detriment of investor sentiment.
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