11 December 2019
The Draft Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill has been referred to the National House of Traditional Leaders (NHTL) for comment.
The Ad Hoc Committee to Initiate and Introduce Legislation Amending Section 25 of the Constitution called for comment on the draft bill last week.
The multiparty Ad Hoc Committee tasked with initiating and introducing legislation amending Section 25 of the Constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation was set up in July 2019.
The plan is for the committee to report to the national assembly by 31 March 2020.
The aim of the draft bill is to amend the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, so as to provide that where land and any improvements thereon are expropriated for the purposes of land reform, the amount of compensation payable may be nil; and to provide for matters connected therewith.
The draft bill’s memorandum also adds that “such limitation is a legitimate option for land reform, so as to address the historic wrongs caused by the arbitrary dispossession of land, and in so doing ensure equitable access to land and further empower the majority of South Africans to be productive participants in ownership, food security and agricultural reform programs”.
National legislation will set out specific circumstances where a court may determine that the amount of compensation is nil.
Parliamentary Legal Services previously indicated that it is advisable to rather include the specific circumstances in national legislation rather than in the Constitution so that any future amendments would not have to be in the Constitution.
The NHTL has until 29 January 2020 to make comments on the proposed legislation.