Mooted property rights amendment ‘inherently unconstitutional’

Staff Writer | Aug 04, 2019
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has urged Speaker Thandi Modise ‘to alert Parliament to the stark warning’ by the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land.

In a letter, the DA has asked the Speaker to direct ‘that sections of the final report of the Land Panel … be discussed and read into the record of the Ad Hoc Committee on Land’.

The party said the Land Panel's report warned that proposed expropriation amendments to the Constitution would be ‘inherently unconstitutional and would offend the foundational values of the Constitution’.

DA Shadow Minister of Justice Glynnis Breytenbach said in a statement: ‘We believe that the amendment of the Constitution would be a move that will condemn our economy to inevitable collapse.

‘The DA is unequivocal in its support of legal and constitutionally outlined processes for land reform. The Constitution is not a barrier to land reform. The barriers to land reform have been and continue to be corruption, constrained budgets and a lack of political will. Amending the Constitution is nothing more than an attempt by the ANC to hide its failures in land redistribution and reform.’

Breytenbach said the Land Panel’s report ‘clearly states that amending the Constitution to allow for land expropriation is in and of itself unconstitutional, and frankly unnecessary’. She cited the report as noting: ‘Without a constitutional amendment to section 25, the State is currently able and within its powers to expropriate land for land reform purposes, based on just and equitable compensation” and that ‘(if), however, the purpose of the amendment is to implement expropriation without compensation wholescale and without conditions, then such a motion would offend section 1 of the Constitution and would in effect, collapse the core underlying values of our Constitution.’

She said it was clear that the Constitution ‘includes legitimate mechanisms for land redistribution, including expropriation without compensation, based on just and equitable compensation’.

‘The DA believes that the courts must have more opportunities to determine what is just and equitable in terms of compensation. This will ensure that the vast corruption which has characterised land reform over the last 25 years will be eradicated.’

These ‘facts’ needed to be discussed urgently and thoroughly by the Ad Hoc Committee on Land.

 

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