Expropriation Bill awaits Zuma's signature

The bill was adopted by the National Council of Provinces yesterday.

Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - The Expropriation Bill is now on course to be signed into law by President Jacob Zuma after it was adopted by the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) yesterday.

It allows for the state to take over property, with compensation determined against a range of factors, and not only market-value.

The bill will replace the Expropriation Act of 1975, which is not in line with the Constitution.

Its provisions have raised political temperatures, with the Freedom Front Plus claiming it opens the way for legal land grabs, and the Democratic Alliance (DA) warning that it could deter investors.

The African National Congress (ANC) sees the bill as key to its transformation goals.

It allows for property to be expropriated, not only for the public purpose, such as widening a road or installing power transmission lines, but it's also in the public interest and could accelerate land reform.

In the pipeline since 2008, the bill has undergone a number of amendments during its passage through Parliament.

It provides a framework for the expropriation that various government departments are empowered to carry out, and the process that must be followed.

Chairperson of the NCOP committee that dealt with the bill, Boingotlo Nthebe, says most provinces understood the importance of the bill, given the country's history and the needs of its people.

The DA-run Western Cape opposed the bill.

The party has previously complained that the Bill's definition of property is too wide as it is not limited to land.