Passed Expropriation Bill ‘will herald new era of intensified land reform’

The ANC has hailed yesterday’s passing of the Expropriation Bill as historic.

FILE: The bill replaces the 1975 Expropriation Act of the apartheid-era. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The African National Congress (ANC) has hailed the passing of the Expropriation Bill as historic and says it will herald a new era of intensified land reform.

The bill was passed by the National Assembly yesterday with a resounding majority of 208 votes in favour, seven against, and no abstentions.

The Democratic Alliance (DA), which opposed the bill, walked out ahead of the vote.

The United Democratic Movement (UDM), ACDP and Freedom Front Plus (FF+) also did not support the bill, although for different reasons, and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) was not present.

ANC Members of Parliament (MP) cheered as the Expropriation Bill was passed.

It now awaits President Jacob Zuma's signature before becoming law, replacing the 1975 Expropriation Act of the apartheid-era.

While opposition parties and organised agriculture have red-flagged aspects of the bill, the ANC sees it as crucial to speeding up land reform.

Deputy Public Works Minister Jeremy Cronin has however cautioned that it is a law of general application.

"It's very important to not see this framework bill as some kind of silver bullet that's going to solve all problems in regard to land reform."

The bill sets out a clear process to be followed when property must be expropriated, either for the public purpose, such as putting in power lines, and now also for the public interest, redressing the dispossession of the majority of South Africans of their land.