The EFF sponsored the motion to amend the constitution while the DA sponsored a different motion opposed to the amendment of section 25.
The Joint Constitutional Review Committee on Thursday adopted a resolution that Section 25 of the Constitution be amended to allow for expropriation without compensation.
Following a lengthy process of public consultation and deliberation, the EFF’s Floyd Shivambu sponsored a motion on Thursday recommending that the Constitution be amended, mirroring the recommendation the ANC proposed to the committee previously.
The DA’s Annelie Lotriet offered a different motion, recommending that the Constitution not be amended, as the Constitution already makes provision for land reform.
The committee dismissed her motion with 12 votes against four, and adopted the EFF’s proposal by the same margin.
As part of the EFF’s recommendation, it also states that Parliament must appoint a mechanism to now draft the amendment, and that this must be done before the Fifth Parliament rises before the 2019 general elections.
The process will now go through a number of phases.
This report will be tabled in the National Assembly this term, and if it is adopted by the House, another committee will be tasked with drafting the amendments.
This process would entail another public participation process and would have to be passed with a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly.
Deputy President DD Mabuza has suggested that we are currently not in a technical recession but rather the problem is the SA economy refusing to grow.
He was answering oral questions this week Wednesday in the National Assembly.
He said those who were saying the country was in recession didn’t take “a very comprehensive picture”.
Sats SA a week ago said the economy had entered its first technical recession in nine years and GDP went down by 0.7% in the second quarter of 2018, meaning from April to June.
“As a country‚ we’ve noticed the current decline,” he told MPs on Wednesday afternoon.
“And I don’t probably agree with those who are saying we are in technical recession‚” said Mabuza.
He said as government they have taken a “comprehensive picture” and were taking it quarter by quarter and they were seeing an economy that was refusing to grow‚ not that it had entered recession.
“We’ve not taken the overall statistics over a period. But I’m confident that as government we’re going to reverse this tide and I am sure President Cyril Ramaphosa will make a few announcements on how governments wants to intervene in this current situation because it’s our responsibility to respond to this situation,” the deputy president said.
He also rejected suggestions from Cope and DA MPs that we were like this because of the issue surrounding land expropriation without compensation.
“I want to dismiss the fact that land expropriation accounts for this situation,” he said.
“Or that it is scaring investors. I don’t agree,” Mabuza said.
“And we’ve said again and again that land expropriation is going to happen in a very responsible way.
“We’re not intending to disrupt our agricultural production… I don’t think we should be pessimists and run away from the facts we should address.”
He said all that matters is for people to eat and not this thing of land reform.
Deputy leader of the Mpumalanga Agriculture group, Morrees du Toit, says South African land reform will badly affect food security, leading to heightened poverty in the country.
He said one of the challenges they faced as farmers was the difficulty by others to understand the “economic realities” involved in agricultural production.
“The right to property is a fundamental part of living,” du Toit said, “and just as a man cannot live without his body, so no right can exist without it being translated into reality. Stop that land expropriation and respect people’s rights to property”.
He was speaking during the official launch of the Mpumalanga Show at the Mbombela stadium on Friday mid-day.
His comments come while Parliament is busy preparing to change Section 25 of the Constitution to have land redistributed to all people equally.
He said as Agriculture Mpumalanga they are totally opposed to the expropriation of land, worse without compensation, as they are concerned about the issue of sustainability in food production.
“Land without cultivation is just soil,” du Toit said, implying that once land is expropriated it will lie idle, badly affecting food security.
“Agriculture is when humans use will power, efforts and imagination, put it together and the elements of nature to produce food so people can eat,” du Toit said.
He said these days it was no longer just about having land and putting in seeds and expect something to grow out from it for future harvest but there were “more complicated technical and scientific expertise” needed in doing it.
“You need to specialise in robotics, automated systems and mechanisation. Producing food is not just digging holes on the ground and plant in them for nearer future harvest. It is now becoming more technical, more complicated.
“There is also the protection and development of the value chain that needs to happen. As we know food comes from the ground, goes through hands to where it must be packed and from there value must be added to it,” du Toit said.
Du Toit, who is a vice president for the Mpumalanga Agriculture group, is making these comments just a week after four national agricultural groups signed and released a joint statement, committing to work with the state in making sure the agricultural sector transforms and contributes to inclusive growth.
The groups are AgriSA, the African Farmers’ Association, the African Farmers’ Union and the Transvaal Agricultural Union.
They said in their statement: “We have noted the parliamentary process on expropriation without compensation and are all participating in the process,” they said in their statement of intent.
“We are going to host an indaba for our sector with the aim of coming up with a national development strategy for an inclusive and sustainable sector.”
The President pens an article to explain some of the issues around the “most devastating” South African economic inequalities created by the skewed land ownership.
It is nearly 25 years since SA became a democracy, yet the promise of that historic achievement has not yet been fully realised by the millions of people who are unemployed and live in poverty.
Despite significant progress, many of the economic disparities of the apartheid era persist. After a decade of slow growth, the South African government has embarked on a big investment drive to stimulate economic growth and create new jobs.
It has begun to tackle the obstacles to growth by working towards greater policy certainty, shifting resources towards infrastructure investment, reducing bureaucratic inefficiency and stabilising public finances.
Among the greatest obstacles to growth is the severe inequality between black and white South Africans. For the South African economy to reach its full potential, it is therefore necessary to significantly narrow gaps in income, skills, assets and opportunities.
One of the areas where this disparity is most devastating is in the ownership and access to land. As the World Bank has observed, “SA’s historical, highly skewed distribution of land and productive assets is a source of inequality and social fragility.”
It argues that, after skills, current distribution of land is the second-biggest constraint to poverty reduction and shared prosperity. In order for SA to secure the future, and to ensure equitable and just human development opportunities as envisioned by our first democratic president, Nelson Mandela, reform of patterns of land ownership in SA is a critical issue.
That is why the government has embarked on a process of accelerated land reform and why South Africans are currently engaged in an intense debate over the prospect of expropriation of land without compensation as one among several measures to achieve this reform. Unfortunately, several commentators have confined their engagement on this matter to soundbites and not to the substance.
The “land question” goes back more than a century to the 1913 Natives Land Act, which provided legislative form to a process of dispossession that had been under way since colonial times. It confined the country’s African population to slightly more than 10 per cent of the land, reserving the rest for the white minority. These laws alienated the majority of our citizens from their places of birth and burial, stripped them of their assets and deprived them of their livelihoods.
Even now, the dispossession of land continues to determine the prospects of millions of South Africans, and it holds back the country’s economic development. By restricting the ownership of land to a small minority, the apartheid regime ensured that one of the country’s most valuable economic resources would be severely underutilised.
During this year the department of rural development and land reform released results of a land audit to establish land ownership patterns. Among other insights forthcoming from the land audit, it emerged that:
Individuals, companies and trusts own 90 per cent of land in SA, and the state 10 per cent
Of this 90%, individuals own 39%, trusts 31%, companies 25% and community-based organisations 4%, with co-ownership at 1%.
In terms of farms and agricultural holdings, 97% of the total agricultural holdings are owned by 7% of landowners
Agricultural land ownership by race: 72% of farms and agricultural holdings are owned by whites, 15% by coloured citizens, 5% by Indians, and 4% by Africans
For decades, the country’s assets — its land, its minerals, its human resources, its enterprises — have been owned, controlled and managed in a way that has prevented the extraction of their full value. Our intention is to unlock the economic potential of land. Without the recognition of the property rights of all our people, we will not overcome inequality, and without giving the poor the means to productively farm the land, we will not defeat poverty.
In promoting accelerated land reform, the ruling ANC, recently resolved to propose a constitutional amendment that would make explicit the conditions under which land could justifiably be expropriated without compensation. While the current clause in the constitution dealing with property rights does not necessarily prohibit such a measure, the ANC’s view is that an amendment would provide certainty and clarity.
The proposed amendment would need to reinforce the fundamental principles of the property clause, which, among other things, prohibits the arbitrary deprivation of property and holds that expropriation is possible in the public interest subject to just and equitable compensation. It also says that no provision can impede the process of land reform to redress the results of past racial discrimination.
While a parliamentary committee is at present wrapping up public hearings on this issue and still needs to give consideration to any possible constitutional amendment, there have been several suggestions on when expropriation without compensation may be justified. These include, for instance, unused land, derelict buildings, purely speculative land holdings, or circumstances where occupiers have strong historical rights and title holders do not occupy or use their land, such as labour tenancy, informal settlements and abandoned inner-city buildings.
This is no land grab; nor is it an assault on the private ownership of property. The ANC has been clear that its land reform programme should not undermine future investment in the economy or damage agricultural production and food security. The proposals will not erode property rights, but will instead ensure that the rights of all South Africans, and not just those who currently own land, are strengthened. SA has learnt from the experiences of other countries, both from what has worked and what has not, and will not make the same mistakes that others have made.
The proposal on expropriation without compensation is one element of a broader programme of land reform that seeks to ensure that all citizens can have their land rights recognised, whether they live in communal areas, informal settlements or on commercial farms. It includes the release of well-located urban land for low-cost housing so that the poor can own property and live close to economic opportunities.
For land reform to succeed, it is essential that support is given to beneficiaries of land redistribution through financing, training, market access, irrigation and the provision of seeds, fertiliser and equipment, all of which contribute to the sustainability of emerging agricultural enterprises.
Land reform in SA is a moral, social and economic imperative. By bringing more land into productive use, by giving more South Africans assets and opportunities for sustainable livelihoods, the country is creating conditions for greater, more inclusive and more meaningful growth.