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[UPDATE] SAHRC clarifies position on land expropriation without compensation

The chapter nine institution made its oral submission before Parliament's Constitutional Review Committee on Thursday.

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC). Picture: www.sahrc.org.za

Editor's Note: This article has been updated to reflect a clarification by the SAHRC on its position on land expropriation.

CAPE TOWN - The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) says it is opposed to a constitutional amendment to allow for land expropriation without compensation.

The chapter nine institution made its oral submission before Parliament's Constitutional Review Committee on Thursday.

Thursday marks day three of the second phase of land hearings at Parliament.

The SAHRC says the only impediment to land reform is the failure of government to implement existing policies.

The commission’s Jonas Sibanyoni said: “The commission regards the ineffective implementation of land reform programmes as the root cause of inadequate land reform in South Africa.”

In a statement released on Thursday, the SAHRC stated that its position on land expropriation without compensation is that it supports the expropriation of land without compensation through legislative amendment, but not through the amendment of the Constitution.

The commission proposes that in addition to addressing the significant issues in land reform as expounded in its submission, government pursues a legislative route in order to expropriate land without compensation in appropriate circumstances.

The Economic Freedom Fighters’ Floyd Shivambu has objected to the commission’s submission, calling it political.

“I’m not comfortable with the SAHRC’s position. I think they are taking a political posture, which is problematic. And I think for the same reason that we had said that government departments should not come to make representations, I think we should forbid these institutions to come and make political statements here.”

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)