Parliament’s Ad Hoc Committee to Initiate and Introduce Legislation Amending Section 25 of the Constitution has been given two options for amending the Constitution to allow for expropriating property without compensation.

The options were presented to the committee by the Parliamentary Legal Services, according to a statement by Parliamentary Communication Services media officer Rajaa Azzakani.

‘Option one is to amend subsections (2)(b) and (3)(b), subject to compensation, the amount of which and the time and manner of payment of which have either been agreed to by those affected or decided or approved by a court, provided that a court may determine that no compensation is payable in the event of expropriation of land for the purpose of land reform.

‘Where compensation is payable, the amount of the compensation and the time and manner of payment must be just and equitable, reflecting an equitable balance between the public interest and the interests of those affected, having regard to all relevant circumstances.’

The second option was to ‘insert a new subsection: “Notwithstanding the requirement for compensation contemplated in subsections (2), (3) and (4), land may be expropriated without the payment of any compensation as a legitimate option for land reform in order to redress the results of past racial discrimination.”’

The options emerged at a workshop hosted by the committee this week on ‘Constitutional Dialogue on Land Ownership’.

The objective, said Ad Hoc committee chairperson Dr Mathole Motshekga, was to ‘gather insights from experts and stakeholders in order to gather information on how to draft the Bill that will make it possible to amend the Constitution, to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation’.

Motshekga added: ‘This lies at the heart of our nation-building project. We must put aside our vested interests and put the interest of all South Africans, both black and white, first. This is a legacy challenge created by people who are no more.’

The statement quoted Motshekga as saying that ‘it is unfair that 13% of the land is in the hands of the minority’.

It went on: ‘He however made it clear that the “original sin of land dispossession” was started by British imperialism.’

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