ANC wants to give minister power over land expropriation

The ANC wants to give full power over compensation for expropriated land to a minister of land reform, the Sunday Times reported.

According to the report, a faction in the ruling party is proposing the drastic change to the land expropriation bill.

The proposed plan seeks to cut off the courts from deciding whether the state should pay for expropriated land and instead grants the minister of land reform absolute discretion over land owners’ eligibility for payment.

Currently, the bill reads that “A court may, where land and any improvements thereon are expropriated for the purposes of land reform, determine that the amount of compensation is nil.”

The ANC has now proposed that “a court” be substituted with “the executive.”

Big shift

The report follows news this week that the ANC does not support the clause in the land expropriation bill which would give the courts the power to determine which land should be taken without compensation.

The ruling party allowed it to be drafted that way so that the proposal could be gazetted without controversy.

In an interview on ENCA, chairperson of Parliament’s ad-hoc committee on the constitutional amendment, Mathole Motshekga, said they had to “select a formulation that would be acceptable to all the political parties, so that we don’t derail the process”.

“But that formulation is subject to engagement by political parties and the people of South Africa as a whole.”

“The ANC has taken the lead to say ‘no, we do not support that formulation’ – that power should be given to the executive,” he said.

ANC NEC meeting

The decision to move power to a designated minister was reportedly made after a push by the “radical economic transformation” faction of the ANC at the party’s National Executive Committee meeting last week.

The Sunday Times said several constitutional law experts slammed the plan, and called it unexpected and unworkable.

Motshekga told the Sunday Times that landowners would still be able to approach the courts if they were unsatisfied with the minister’s decision.

The plan is expected to further delay the bill’s passage, as the EFF has stated that it opposes the proposal.

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ANC wants to give minister power over land expropriation