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Public Works Committee to consider Expropriation Bill

The bill allows for property to be taken over by the State for public purpose, such as building dams.

FILE: The bill allows for property to be taken over by the State for public purpose, such as building dams. Picture: Supplied.

CAPE TOWN - Government's moved to allay concerns over the Expropriation Bill currently before Parliament.

The bill allows for property to be taken over by the State not only for public purpose, such as building dams or power lines but also in the public interest, with a view to land reform.

Deputy Public Works Minister Jeremy Cronin has proposed changes to clauses in the draft law, that were flagged by the Institute of Race Relations during public hearings last month as cause for concern.

Cronin's proposed amendments aim to make it clear the decision to expropriate as well as the amount of compensation can be challenged in court.

Whether a dispute settled by a high court or comes before a magistrate, has yet to be decided.

Cronin has also suggested changes to a clause that raised fears.

The minister could grant any low level bureaucrat the power to expropriate property of any kind.

"We've acknowledge that there was weak drafting on our part, which opened the door misunderstandings."

Parliament's Public Works Committee is set to consider the bill clause-by-clause next Tuesday.

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