ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa joins the women's league in song in Johannesburg. PHOTO: Rosetta Msimango/City Press

THE ANC Women’s League is demanding that whatever is done with the land expropriation bill, South African women should be the greatest beneficiaries of the process.

This is contained in the women’s league written submission to Parliament’s portfolio committee and infrastructure on land expropriation bill.

Public comments for the bill closed on Friday.

The controversial Land Expropriation Bill is intended to replace the old Expropriation Act of 1975, which is not in line with the Constitution.

The bill seeks to amend Section 25 of the Constitution in order to provide for expropriation of land without compensation.

In its submission to Parliament, ANCWL said it wanted to ensure that the bill benefited women, especially those in rural communities.

“Women of this country have for a long time been subjugated and stayed without land. The historical dispossession of the majority South African people has been more severe on women because they still had to suffer from sexism and patriarchy,” the league said.

“Women who work the land and have been denied land due the patriarchal family lineage should be claiming and owning the land.”

The women’s league has also raised a number of objections to the bill, saying, for instance, that the Land Expropriation Bill does not distinguish between the various types of landowners and unregistered right possessors.

The league further argues that provisions should also be adopted to secure the legal rights and interests of large and poor communities who are unable to respond to an expropriation threat in the same way that an individual owner might.

“We need the Bill to distinguish this, in order to protect the most vulnerable members of the community. The Bill in its current form does not differentiate between individual and communal ownership of property. This is not logical. The distinction should be made, for there are instances where individual reparations would have to be made,” said the league.

“We endorse the various protective provisions in the Bill which will deter the state and an expropriating authority from arbitrary expropriating land and property. The Bill is largely in line with the provisions of section 25 of the Constitution which is commendable.”

The ANCWL said that it also endorsed the powers of “the Minister” and proposes that the Bill outline the powers of the Ministers of the Department of Public Works and the Department Human Settlements as secondary stakeholders.

Meanwhile, the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) has announced that it was taking steps to fight a legislation that would ‘bring Zimbabwe to South Africa’ and increase unemployment, hunger and suffering’.

The institute has labelled the bill as “Draconian” and is calling for its halt.

The bill was published last October and tabled before Parliament and relevant committees to transverse its constitutionality and mandates.

In his closing remarks to the ANC NEC lekgotla in January, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the governing party needs to do more to popularise its position on the amendment of section 25 of the Constitution to clarify circumstances in which expropriation without compensation will take place.

“We are encouraged that the Lekgotla endorsed the recommendation that the power to determine the quantum of compensation for land expropriation should reside in the executive,” said Ramaphosa.

He said he lekgotla endorsed several programmatic priorities for the forthcoming year, including the advancement of women in land reform.

“Women must be considered especially in communal areas and ownership of land. Women must be at the centre of the land debate,” he said.


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