Johannesburg- Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola says the Expropriation Bill which is before Parliament will enable the government to achieve what it sought to accomplish through the ill-fated expropriation of land without compensation.
Lamola said the ANC doesn’t require a two-thirds majority for this bill to pass.
He made these remarks following his speech during the funeral of the ANC leader of Sarah Baartman Region, Mzimkhulu Njadayi who was famously known as Scara. Njadayi died last week shortly after being elected as a mayor of Sarah Baartman District Municipality as he was chairing his first mayoral committee meeting.
During his address, Lamola defended the rewording of “Nil Compensation” as a concept that is in line with international practices and criticised the EFF approach of seeking to expropriate all the land and place it under the state custody as a flawed approach which reverses all the gains that have been achieved post-1994.
He said: “The expropriating authority which is the government is bound by the international laws.
It is bound by the principles of administrative law such as the principles of fairness, reasonableness, legality and proportionality.
International property law which binds South Africa recognises nil compensation and it was against this background that the ANC supported the wording of the bill of nil compensation as it is practised across the globe.”
He said the nil compensation in practice is the same as the expropriation of land without compensation.
Lamola said: “If you put expropriation without compensation in the constitution, before you even expropriate one hectare of land you will be called to answer in the international tribunal, about the meaning of this resolution.”
He said the ANC supports individual land ownership in form of title deeds and the communal land system in the former Bantustan states.
“It is in this regard that we disagree with the EFF on their policy position because their policy position which says ‘let’s put all the land under the state custody’ equals nationalisation of the land. It means we were going to reverse the gains as the ANC on the people that we have given land to, such as those that have received the land through the restitution process and those that have received the land through redistribution bill. It meant whoever has got a title was going to be converted into a lease from the government,” said Lamola.
He said Njadayi understood that land is an asset that should be given to people. “Comrade Scara’s understanding of the land question was practical, informed by the fact that this region is dominated by agriculture and tourism for which the land plays an important role. I was deployed here by the ANC to engage this region during the public hearings on the 18th constitutional amendment and comrade Scara was very clear,” said Lamola.
He said the ANC government must never shy away from the fact that under its government the black people are able to buy and own land in areas where they were prohibited to do so by the Group Areas Act. Lamola said an additional 700 000 hectares of land is being released for redistribution.
Asked about the way forward since the 18th Ammunition Bill which was going to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation failed in Parliament this week, Lamola said: “We have an Expropriation Bill which is before the Parliament, and which is informed by the ANC ready to govern document.
“It also identifies categories of land that we can expropriate without compensation such as the land that is meant for redistribution, the land that is causing hazards across many municipalities, there’s a lot and the Ready to Govern document has already given us a framework and we will proceed in that regard without having a two-third majority, we can do it on our own as the ANC.”
He said it does not help anyone to expropriate all the land and put it in the hands of the state because it leaves land users with no security of tenure.