With all eyes on the budget during the last week of February, the government hurried through the Expropriation Bill.
On February 23, Parliament passed the Expropriation Bill that will allow the state to pay for land at a value determined by a government adjudicator and then expropriate it. This effectively scraps the “willing buyer, willing seller” approach to land reform.
Despite the proposed intention of the bill to redress racial disparities in land ownership, there are a number of problematic clauses that make it possible for land to be expropriated unfairly. Dr Anthea Jeffery, head: policy research, the Institute of Race Relations, says the bill leaves property owners open to massive losses should the government decide to expropriate their homes, land or other property.
Now that the bill has been passed by Parliament, it still has to be passed by the National Council of Provinces, after which it will be sent to President Jacob Zuma to be signed into law. “None of these concerns were addressed, and I doubt that the National Council of Provinces will not pass it, so it will be up to President Zuma to make a decision, and given the current focus on land reform in SA, I am fairly certain he will sign,” says Jeffery.
This article originally appeared in Neighbourhood, Sunday Times.