S Africa’s ANC fails to pass bill for expropriation of land without compensation

PTI | Johannesburg | Updated: 08-12-2021 00:31 IST | Created: 08-12-2021 00:31 IST
S Africa’s ANC fails to pass bill for expropriation of land without compensation
  • Country:
  • South Africa

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) on Tuesday failed to get enough support in Parliament to pass a controversial bill which would allow government to expropriate land without compensation.

The ANC had hoped to get the required two thirds majority after earlier discussions with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), but the latter voted against the bill, resulting in only 204 of the 267 ayes needed.

The ANC and EFF both accused each other of selling out during the debate in the National Assembly.

MP Julius Sello Malema said that the ANC had let the people down and could not be trusted.

The bill aimed to amend Section 25 of the Constitution to allow the government to redistribute land, especially farms, which have been largely controlled by the minority whites since the apartheid era, while the majority of the population was restricted to townships and supposedly independent homelands for the ethnic Black communities.

Indian and Coloured (mixed race) communities were also resettled in racially distinct townships away from the city centre where their forebears had settled decades earlier.

The homelands were incorporated after Nelson Mandela became South Africa’s first democratically-elected president, but the areas remain under-resourced, with claims that most of the more economically viable land remains in white hands.

Restitution attempts over the past two decades have been thwarted by insufficient government funds to compensate, often at inflated prices, the owners of expropriated land.

The end of the bill in Parliament brought to an end three years of emotional public debate on the matter from both supporters and opposers of the proposal.

''Those who vote against this bill are voting against the will of the people of South Africa and therefore they cannot continue to claim to be democrats,” said ANC MP Mathole Motshekga, who chaired the ad hoc committee that initiated the amendment bill.

Motshekga called the appropriation of traditional lands from the indigenous communities by white settlers “a sin”.

“This original sin shaped land occupation by African people and the administration of the affairs of African people. We can see that there was a grave injustice done to the African majority in particular and black people in general,” Motshekga said.

Democratic Alliance MP Annelie Lotriet said her party rejected the bill because it would cause great harm to the economy.

The DA said it was completely opposed to any constitutional amendments, adding that the Bill infringed on South Africans’ right to private property ownership.

Narend Singh of the Inkatha Freedom Party called on government to continue with its current land restitution plans, which attempt to return homes from which people were forcibly removed after living there for generations to make room for the then privileged minority white community.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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