Land reform still a priority, says Deputy President

Deputy President David Mabuza says the amendment of the Constitution to pave the way for land to be expropriated without compensation remains a priority for government.

We would like to assure this House that the amendment of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa 1996 in order to enable the expropriation of land without compensation remains a commitment and a priority of this administration.

Government will not deviate from this policy, the Deputy President said on Tuesday while answering questions in the National Assembly in Cape Town.

The Deputy President said the Freedom Charter sets out the fundamental principles that emphasize, among others, equal rights, shared opportunities as well as the pursuit of redress, redistribution, social, economic and spatial justice.

Mabuza reiterated that the land reform process will be pursued in a responsible manner that seeks to address the following:

– Sustained inclusive economic growth;

– The skewed concentration of ownership by large corporations and monopolies, and

– Diversification of the economy through reindustrialisation, manufacturing and beneficiation.

In other words, we are pursuing a land reform programme for increased agricultural production, for integrated human settlements in order to address apartheid spatial planning and for use to support manufacturing and other means of production, Mabuza said.

The Inter-Ministerial Committee on Land Reform and Agriculture, tasked with coordinating and providing political leadership to accelerated land reform, is currently finalising government’s comprehensive response to the recommendations that were made to the panel of experts on land reform.

The Deputy President said the comprehensive response to the panel’s recommendations will be presented to Cabinet for consideration and approval.

It is worth pointing out that the panel of experts on land reform has supported the amendment of the Constitution to set out an unambiguous provision for expropriation of land without compensation.

The panel also supports the finalisation of the Expropriation Bill to enable land expropriation within a properly guided legislative framework.

In as far as the work of the Constitutional Review Committee towards the Amendment of Section 25 of the Constitution is concerned, the Chairperson of the Joint Constitutional Review Committee announced that the committee will be able to meet its deadline to amend the Constitution, said the Deputy President.

He said the Committee’s chairperson has indicated that the committee would have completed their work by the March 2020 deadline.

We are confident that Parliament will be able to finalise its own processes within the planned schedule, said Mabuza.

Government will proceed with the development and tabling of the Expropriation Bill currently underway to provide for the expropriation of property for public purpose or in the public process.

This process will not be affected by the Parliamentary process for the amendment of Section 25 of the Constitution, the Deputy President said.

Source: South African Government News Agency