ANC pushes ahead with land expropriation

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JOHANNESBURG, May 21 (ANA) – The African National Congress (ANC) is poised to press ahead to expropriate land without compensation and review section 25 of the Constitution.

ANC national executive committee member Ronald Lamola said delegates at the governing party’s land summit ”were clear” that it was time to implement the December conference resolution on land redistribution. However, said Lamola, section 25 should be tested through immediate expropriation by government to counter views that the clause cannot be used to expropriate without a constitutional amendment.

“The workshop called on government to proceed and act…section 25 as it is now allows us to expropriate without compensation, but the debate has been that it has not been tested, so we’re saying let’s put section 25 to the test through farm dwellers and labour tenants where you can use section 25 to expropriate, and also put a redistribution bill before Parliament that will clearly define the expropriation and under what circumstances,” Lamola told reporters in Johannesburg.

Delegates at the summit at the summit also proposed that President Cyril Ramaphosa should, pending final legal advice, approach the Constitutional Court to test the constitutionality of the redistribution bill.

“That will then cut out the red tape and give clarity. So the position of the ANC is that there is nothing that must stop us from achieving the position of national conference,” he said.

After unveiling and signing the ‘Thuma Mina’ pledge outside Luthuli House on Monday, Ramaphosa said the summit held in Ekurhuleni was a success.

“Many wonderful ideas were put on the table on how we can legislate this process. We are now moving to the ANC NEC which will meet this weekend to deliberate on the outcomes at the land summit,” the president said.

“It was indeed a wonderful experience that brought together experts, NGO’s and people involved in daily farming…a position will be clarified as soon as the NEC finalises the matter.”

In February, political parties in Parliament voted for amendments to the property clause in the Constitution to allow government to expropriate land without compensation. The motion was brought by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and was supported by the ruling ANC and other smaller parties.

South Africa’s biggest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA) opposes the move. The DA believes expropriation without compensation infringes on private property rights and have labelled it ”state sanctioned theft”.

The African National Congress (ANC) land summit resolved that land claims by farm dwellers be settled immediately and title deeds given to the claimants, ANC national executive committee member Ronald Lamola said on Monday.

The governing party held a land summit over the weekend. Delegates also called for farm evictions to stop immediately.

“There are at least 22,000 farm dwellers’ claims. Government is called to act and stop farm evictions, and ensure this does not happen again, especially of areas hard hit by evictions such as in the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga,” said Lamola.

A panel would be established in the Presidency to help government combat evictions.

Chairman of the ANC sub-committee on economic transformation, Enoch Godongwana said the outcome of the summit were only recommendations and not ANC final decisions. The recommendations would be submitted to the national executive committee meeting next week.