MPs dissect Expropriation Bill

The Bill will provide for property to be expropriated for the public purpose or in the public interest.

The Parliament of South Africa. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Members of Parliament (MPs) are picking through the Expropriation Bill with a fine-tooth comb.

The Bill will provide for property to be expropriated for the public purpose or in the public interest. It aims to provide a clear and fair process for expropriation and will replace the Expropriation Act of 1975, which is unconstitutional.

The government wants the draft law to go before the National Assembly for approval before the end of the year.

With the National Assembly scheduled to have its final plenary in two weeks' time, the means the pressure is on.

Most of the changes so far made to the Expropriation Bill are technical in nature, but the wrangling continues.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) wants "property" to be defined more tightly.

The party's Anchen Dreyer said, "The definition of property… that's a big one, and of course compensation is extremely important."

Deputy Justice Minister Jeremy Cronin says he hopes the end is in sight.

"It's very important to get the Bill through the National Assembly this year, and we think we're on course now to do so."

If passed by the National Assembly, the Bill will go before the National Council of Provinces sometime early next year.