MPs green light constitutional review on land expropriation

After agreeing to amendments by the ANC, MPs voted in favour of Parliament’s committee made up of both houses to look into changes to the Constitution.

Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema (C) pictured during a press briefing on 14 February 2017. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - A motion to review a section of the Constitution to pave the way for the expropriation of land without compensation, has been passed by an overwhelming majority in the National Assembly on Tuesday afternoon.

After agreeing to amendments by the African National Congress, Members of Parliament voted in favour of Parliament’s constitutional review committee made up of both houses to look into changes to the Constitution.

The committee will have to report back to the National Assembly by 30 August.

House chairperson Cedric Frolick said: “Honourable members, the outcome of the division is as follows: those in favour 241, those against 83, there have been no abstentions and the motion as amended is therefore agreed to.”

The Economic Freedom Fighters’ Julius Malema says he has no problems with the amendments the ANC has made to the party's motion on the expropriation of land without compensation.

The changes introduce the need for it to improve food security as spelt out by President Cyril Ramaphosa's State of the Nation Address.

Most parties backed the amended motion, with the Democratic Alliance, Congress of the People (Cope), the African Christian Democratic Party and the Freedom Front Plus against.

Wrapping the debate, Malema told the House his party is delivering where the ANC has not.

"I think that South Africans will begin to appreciate that a party of 6% is doing what a party of 60% could not do for many years and imagine if this party had the same percentage, what we would have delivered."

Malema described Cope leader Mosuioa Lekota as a colonial mistake for opposing the motion, which has the support of the majority of the parties in the House.

The DA's John Steenhuisen argued there was no need to amend the Constitution to achieve equitable land redistribution, saying the government had spent less and less on land reform over the years.

“It's been on a rapid decline since the 2008/2009 financial year. That's not a failure of the Constitution, it's a failure of government. It is a failure of implementation”