Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu says her department would like to be the first to benefit from draft legislation on the expropriation of land without compensation.
Introducing her department’s budget vote Tuesday, Sisulu said: “I’m glad that Parliament has finally got to this point where we are able to expropriate land and I would like to be the first taker.”
“The draft legislation determines that land would not be expropriated for any other reason except for public interest,” she added.
Sisulu said government has delivered more than four million houses in housing opportunities, but added that “I cannot see that there is any greater public interest than that we represent in Human Settlements.”
The EFF’s Shirley Mokgotho said: “There is no overarching vision, no plan, no political will to alleviate the crisis in this country. The budget presented is insufficient to deal with the housing challenges facing our people.”
Ahead of her budget vote, Sisulu told a media briefing, “We will not be in charge of the legislation, [the department of] public works will still be in charge of the legislation… However, when legislation is put out there for comment we will be able to include our comments.”
“Our target will be Cape Town, we have a lot of urban land here that is very suitable for human settlements,” she continued .
She reinforced the point in Parliament: “In 2009, the Housing Development Agency [HDA] signed an agreement of alienation of ownership with the provincial government of the Western Cape to transfer land that belonged to them to the HDA, so that human settlements could be created for the people in the province.”
However, then-DA premier Helen Zille reversed the agreement when assuming in 2009, saying the previous ANC government’s plan was “illegal and unconstitutional.”
“I am giving notice today that we will expropriate that land that had been given to us in 2009 and make sure it is given back to the HDA,” she emphasized.
Sisulu said her priorities for her department this year would be to reverse entrenched spatial patterns, provide free housing to the indigent and support for low-income groups, as well as ensuring that new housing developments were close to cities.