Pic Courtesy: GCIS

THE National Assembly has voted against the ANC’s bid to expropriate land without compensation, denying the governing party to secure the two-thirds majority required to amend the section 25 of the Constitution.

ANC has 230 seats in parliament and required at least 267 votes to pass the bill. 

But out of the MPs present in the house and on the virtual platform, 145 members voted against the bill and 204 were in support.

Arguing in support of the amendment bill, the ANC’s Mathole Motshekga said the party believed the adoption of the bill was the only mechanism to undo the original sin committed by land invaders.

“This original sin shaped land occupation by African people and the administration of the affairs of African people. We can see that there was a grave injustice done to the African majority in particular and black people in general,” he argued.

EFF leader Julius Malema said that his party’s proposals on the bill were ignored by Parliament’s ad hoc committee that was tasked with conducting public hearings on amending the property clause.

“We tried but the parliamentary process was hijacked by the ANC and their handlers and unless we have an overwhelming majority in Parliament, black people will stay landless in this country,” said Malema.

“Our people must take it upon themselves to ensure that they return what was stolen from them. This process is a failure. The ANC is completely captured by white monopoly capital and it would not do anything in its power to return the land to the rightful owners.”

The DA staunchly opposed any amendment to allow expropriation without compensation from the inception of the process in February 2018.

On Tuesday, DA leader John Steenhuisen said failure by the ANC to muster the mandatory two-thirds majority required by the Constitution to pass the 18th Constitution Amendment Bill was a victory for South Africa’s Constitutional order.

“Consistent with our committee vote in September, where DA members represented in the Section 25 Ad-Hoc Committee voted in unison to reject the ANC’s motion to adopt Bill, today the DA caucus in the National Assembly spoke in one voice and voted to reject this disastrous piece of legislation,” said Steenhuisen.

“Today’s outcome was a culmination of 3 wasted years in which Parliament was made to process a Bill where alarms had been raised about its grave impact on the economy, the rule of law and food security. The ANC knew about these dangers hence their steadfast refusal to allow for an Economic Impact Assessment to be conducted.”

He said the DA has always argued that the Bill should never have been brought to Parliament as it does nothing to help landless South Africans who have been let down by the ANC’s failing land reform programme.

“If anything, the ANC and the EFF wasted time on a process that was never going to address the land question for landless South Africans. For all the years that the committee has spent trying to take away the property rights of South Africans and nationalise all land, focus should rather have been on opening access to state land, improving tenure security and providing support to emerging farmers,” he said.

The party’s submission to Parliament indicated that the ANC adopted a resolution at its 2017 conference in Nasrec, Johannesburg to expropriate land without compensation, but also that the “resolution stated that implementation must ensure that it does not undermine future investment in the economy, or damage agricultural production and food security and that intervention must not cause harm to other sectors of the economy.”

The ANC states that it does not subscribe to the wholesale nationalisation of land or wholesale state custodianship of land.

“The State has, since the 1800s, been a custodian of land. This is nothing new. It has taken different forms and is still the case today. The issue has been raised as if this is a new creation which it is not.”

“[The] ANC recognises that state custodianship is necessary for particular purposes, redistribution and land reform. In addition, land held through traditional authority on behalf of communities, communal land tenureship, is another form of state custodianship which has been delegated to traditional authority to redistribute land.”

The party said custodianship can be carried out by an institution, community, traditional authority, individual or government.

“The conscious distortion of fact that has come up in the parliamentary process is that the original Constitutional Review Committee was mandated to make constitutional amendments regarding the kind of future land tenure regime needed, considering the necessity of the state being a custodian of all South African land. This was rejected by the ANC’s amendment, which was passed by the National Assembly in 2018 and ratified by the final report.”

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