Govt to give more clarity on land expropriation without compensation

The Public Works Ministry is working on adding a section to the Expropriation Bill that will cover the circumstances under which land expropriation can take place.

FILE: Land hearing in Sedibeng. Picture: Kgomotso Modise/EWN

CAPE TOWN - South Africans could have a clearer idea of how the government expects land expropriation without compensation to work within the next two months.

The Public Works Ministry is working on adding a section to the Expropriation Bill that will cover the circumstances under which expropriation without compensation can take place.

The Expropriation Bill was passed by Parliament in 2016 but sent back by former President Jacob Zuma last year after concerns were raised about the process followed by the National Council of Provinces.

The bill, which did not provide for expropriation without compensation, was withdrawn by the National Assembly’s public works committee earlier in September.

Deputy Public Works Minister Jeremy Cronin has told Eyewitness News that a small section will be added to the existing Expropriation Bill that will spell out the circumstances under which property can be taken without compensation.

“We’re hoping to give comfort to those who are concerned about expropriation in general and therefore, expropriation without compensation more specifically on the one hand, and on the other hand, not rule out the possibility of expropriation without compensation in certain circumstances.”

Cronin says land held purely for speculation, abandoned buildings, land farmed by labour tenants where the titleholder is absent and state land that is not used optimally could all be identified as property that could be expropriated without compensation.

Cronin says that it will not be possible for the amended bill to come before Parliament to be passed before next year’s elections, but that it should be released by the ministry for public comment within the next two months or sooner.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)