De Lille offers clarity around new land bill

The law would allow land to be confiscated without compensation if its unused, abandoned, or poses a safety risk.

Parliament of South Africa in Cape Town. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG – A new Expropriation Bill, which lays out the conditions for when land could be confiscated without reimbursement, is before Parliament.

The law would allow land to be confiscated without compensation if its unused, abandoned, or poses a safety risk.

The Chief State Law Adviser certified the bill as constitutional. This paves the way for the next step in the process whereby the Bill was gazetted on Friday and submitted to Parliament.

Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille on Sunday said in some cases payouts would be possible, but the courts would have the final decision.

“Local, provincial, and national authorities will use the legislation to expropriate in the public interest for valid reasons that seek to – amongst others – promote inclusivity and access to natural resources,” De Lille said.

Government said the new Expropriation Bill would bring certainty to the country and investors.

The majority of the privately owned land is in white hands and the African National Congress (ANC) has been promising to speed up redistribution.

The governing party started a process in Parliament to amend the constitution to make it clear when expropriation without compensation could be done.

Under the new law, authorities would be required to negotiate with landowners to try and reach an agreement before it could be taken.

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