Parties still divided over controversial Expropriation Bill

The bill is set to be adopted by Parliament’s Public Works Committee next week.

FILE. Once passed, the bill will replace the apartheid-era Expropriation Act, which is not in line with the Constitution.. Picture: Aletta Harrison/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Expropriation Bill is set to be adopted by Parliament's Public Works Committee next week, but parties are still divided over the controversial draft law.

The committee yesterday went through the bill clause by clause.

Chairperson Ben Martins has asked parties to spell out their differences in writing.

Once passed, the bill will replace the apartheid-era Expropriation Act, which is not in line with the Constitution.

It provides for the expropriation of any property in the public interest, as well as for public purpose and for compensation to be determined against a number of criteria and not only market value.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) backed the bill, but are opposed to any compensation being paid for expropriation on the basis that the land was originally stolen.

The Democratic Alliance (DA)'s Anchen Dreyer believes amendments made by the committee have improved the bill.

But she says the party still has issues with a number of clauses.

Chief among these is the definition of property; the bill does not limit this to land and the DA says it is too broad.

Deputy Public Works Minister Jeremy Cronin has defended the bill as a much needed general law of application to govern expropriation.

He told Members of Parliament last year that it would not be used for Zimbabwe-style land grabs.