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Expropriation Bill passed by National Assembly

It will replace the apartheid-era Expropriation Act of 1975 and has been hailed by ANC.

A farmer inspects his land, in the Free State. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Expropriation Bill has been passed by the National Assembly and will now be sent to President Jacob Zuma for him to sign it into law.

It will replace the apartheid-era Expropriation Act of 1975 and has been hailed by African National Congress (ANC) in Parliament as marking the beginning of accelerated land reform.

The bill was passed by 208 votes in favour and seven against, with no abstentions.

The Democratic Alliance (DA), which opposed the Bill on a number of grounds, walked out ahead of the vote.

The Expropriation Bill allows for property to be expropriated by the state for the public purpose, to lay power lines for example, and the public interest, such as to redress the dispossession of the majority of South Africans of their land.

While deputy public works minister Jeremy Cronin has warned it's not a silver bullet when it comes to land reform, the ANC in Parliament says it sounds the death knell for the willing buyer-willing seller approach that often saw exorbitant prices demanded and paid for land.

The DA opposed the Bill, saying it casts the definition of property too wide and offers no guarantee that compensation will cover the balance of a mortgage owing.

The ACDP also opposed the Bill, saying it creates insecurity.