THE OFFICIAL ANC NEWSPAPER

Parliament to review Section 25 of the Constitution to get land

South Africa has taken yet another bold step towards putting the land back into the hands of its rightful owners, black Africans. 
 
This week the National Assembly gave the Constitutional Review Committee a mandate to review Section 25 of the Constitution, which speaks to the right of property ownership. It is this part of the Constitution that currently makes it almost impossible for the government to take land without any compensation, a situation that has seen South Africa using the unsustainable ‘willing buyer, willing seller’ approach for land restitution over the years. While this has worked for other land claims, it’s generally accepted by various stakeholders that it’s largely ineffective. 
 
The governing African National Congress (ANC) took a resolution at its 54th National Conference in December that it’s about time South Africa moved towards the expropriation of land without compensation so the matter of land ownership and dispossession by the apartheid government can be concluded. 
 
On Tuesday the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) led a debate on this motion in the National Assembly, which the ANC amended before it was later adopted following a vote in the House.
 
In its motion, the EFF urged the National Assembly to - in terms of Rule 253 - establish an ad hoc committee to review and amend section 25 of the Constitution to make it possible for the state to expropriate land in the public interest without compensation.
 
The ANC amended parts of the motion and it eventually read as follows: “With the concurrence of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) instruct the Constitutional Review Committee to review section 25 of the Constitution and other clauses where necessary to make it possible for the state to expropriate land in the public interest without compensation.”
 
The motion was adopted with 241 votes in support and 83 against it. 
In his speech that opened the debate on his motion, Malema said: "The time for reconciliation is over. Now is the time for justice. The grandchildren of Jan van Riebeeck have not understood that we need our land. But over and above, it is about our dignity. We do not seek revenge…all that our people even wanted is their land to which their dignity is rooted and founded,” he said. 
Gugile Nkwinti, who was Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform until Monday night’s Cabinet reshuffle [he is now Minister of Water Affairs], had this to say: "The ANC unequivocally supports the principle of land expropriation without compensation. There is no doubt about it, land shall be expropriated without compensation."
Deputy Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Mcebisi Skwatsha, said the ANC was committed to building an equal society.
"You should not make the mistake that we want to oppress whites. We want to redress an historic injustice. We want to take everybody along in achieving an equitable society," he said. 
The Democratic Alliance (DA), Freedom Front Plus, Congress of the People (Cope) and the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) are the only parties present that did not support the motion. 
A public participation process will be opened to allow citizens to have a say in the work of the Constitutional Review Committee, before this committee reports back to the National Assembly by 30 August 2018.