Lamola: ANC’s failure to garner votes to pass land bill not surprising

ANC MPs were dealt a blow yesterday when the proposed bill failed to pass muster in the National Assembly to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation.

FILE: Justice Minister Ronald Lamola. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN - The African National Congress (ANC)'s Ronald Lamola on Wednesday said the party's failure to garner votes to pass the amendment to Section 25 of the Constitution was not surprising.

ANC MPs were dealt a blow on Tuesday when the proposed bill failed to pass muster in the National Assembly to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation.

The ANC required 267 votes for the bill to get the greenlight, but only managed to have 204 votes.

Lamola said his party was aware that the EFF, DA, and FF Plus were going to vote together.

“It’s something very unfortunate on the progressive policy on land and going forward.”

Meanwhile, a constitutional law expert said good legislation was needed to guide the state on how to effectively carry out land restitution.

Attorney in the constitutional litigation unit at the Legal Resource Centre Wilmien Wicomb said current legislation on the matter dated back to 1974 and new laws were needed.

“The new legislation that helps government to expropriate properly is the mechanism they would need even if they were able to amend the Constitution and that’s been in Parliament at least since 2008 and it was never passed.”

Some analysts say the failure to pass an amendment to Section 25 of the Constitution could help the land redistribution process in the long run.

Senior researcher at UWC’s institute for poverty, land and agrarian studies Dr Farai Mtero said the failure to pass the amendment meant this leg of the process was effectively dead in the water.

But he said something good could come out of this: “The silver lining is that this could be a good opportunity for taking this away from a very politicised contestation to focusing on the real issues of wanting land reform in South Africa.”

Mtero said government also needed to fast track the release of strategic pockets of land in urban areas and look to implement another piece of proposed legislation that would establish a formal forum to resolve land disputes.

“We also have a Land Court Bill, which proposes the establishment of a Land C,ourt in South Africa that is modelled after the CCMA so that we look at all the disputes that arise in the land reform sector.”