The National Executive Committee of the African National Congress (ANC) was ordered to propose changes to Article 25 of the South African (SA) Constitution that will make the expropriation of land without compensation possible.
The decision was made during ANC’s 54th national conference at the Nasrec Expo centre in Johannesburg.
Weighty debates and inputs around expropriation without compensation in the best interest of the country have taken place on a regular basis in recent times. The biggest supporters for the concept prior to the congress was President Jacob Zuma, Gugile Nkwinti, Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, and to a lesser degree, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The conference laid down conditions with regards to the circumstances wherein expropriation without compensation should take place.
Enoch Godongwana, who led the commission on economic transformation at the congress, said this should take place without negatively affecting agricultural production, food security and other sectors.
On questions whether expropriation will apply to agricultural land or other property, he said it is difficult to answer since it depends who the question is directed towards.
He indicated that some conference delegates referred to agricultural land during discussions, but there were also others who complained there was not even enough land to bury their people.
What can be said with certainty is that land across rural en urban landscapes will be expropriated. “What is important is that the test for sustainability is passed.”
Nkwinti previously explained that the government wants to develop a single law to enable the restoration of land rights without compensation.
“I want to gain clarity over the practical meaning of reasonable discrimination. Our Constitution doesn’t want unjustified discrimination, but if we look at the history of the expropriation of land, then the argument at the ANC lekgotla was that 1913 was the formalisation of expropriation. So, there should be righteous repair of the unrighteousness of the past before 1913. This can’t take place without altering the Constitution.”
This can be an indication that the Government wants to hear or address the demands from the Khoi and San, who want their land rights from before 1913 restored.