Parliament has agreed to the motion on the expropriation of land without compensation tabled by EFF commander in chief Julius Malema, with 241 parliamentarians voting yes and 83 voting no.
During the debate on the motion today, newly appointed Minister of Water and Sanitation Gugile Nkwinti said in the National Assembly that the ANC supports the principle of land expropriation without compensation motion tabled by the EFF and only differs on “modality”.
Nkwinti, who was shifted from the Ministry of Rural Development and Land Reform during President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Cabinet reshuffle last night to his current portfolio, further said his organisation is committed to implementing the policy, which is a resolution that was taken at the party’s 54th conference last year.
Nkwinti added that the ruling party as the government would pursue the expropriation of land without compensation with the aim of increasing agricultural production and ensuring food security is not compromised and that land is redistributed to those who were dispossessed of land during colonial times.
He said in 2017 the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform conducted a land audit which revealed the following ownership patterns of farms and agricultural holdings across races:
- 72% of land is owned by white South Africans;
- 15% is owned by coloured people;
- 5% is owned by Indians; and
- 4% is owned by Africans.
The minister added that the audit further divulged that there are institutions, trusts and companies that own land in the country but this is kept under wraps, and so it was recommended in the outcomes of the audit that a land administration commission should be established.
He said land owners would be legally obliged to declare the lands they own to the commission.
Nkwinti said past government efforts of land reform had failed to address the issue.
EFF leader Julius Malema delved into history to emphasise his point that the indigenous people of South Africa were dispossessed of their land through brutal and violent means.
“The time of reconciliation is over, now is the time for justice,” Malema said.
However, Malema said the implementation of the policy should not be seen as a way of making those the land would be expropriated from suffer.
He said land should be redistributed first before a food security programme could be initiated.
The commander in chief said the 6% his organisation has in parliament coupled with the ANC’s majority would ensure that Section 25 of the Constitution, which deals with property rights, can be amended to ensure that land is expropriated without compensation.
Malema said the implementation of the policy will not scare investors who would rather look for ways of making money from expropriated and redistributed land.
“Let today be a day of black unity in honour of Robert Sobukwe,” Malema said to political parties he said represented the black citizens of the country.
He said the DA’s stance on the policy would negatively affect the coalition that exists between the two parties in certain metros.
Malema added that the EFF was not opposed to people being consulted on the matter and that the organisation was happy with the amendments that the ANC wants to make as this is not a matter of party politics.
EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi shared the amendments by the ANC in a tweet:
ANC proposed changes to the EFF Motion on #LandExpropriation
The EFF agrees. pic.twitter.com/HksA5fQ23x
— #RegisterToVoteEFF (@MbuyiseniNdlozi) February 27, 2018
In conclusion, Malema said a motion of no confidence on the Mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth), Athol Trollip, will be tabled by the EFF as “a warning shot to the DA”.
Deputy of the EFF Floyd Shivambu said amendments include the replacement of the ad-hoc committee as suggested by his party with the constitutional review committee which will include members of the National Assembly, and the National Council of Provinces, which will engage in extensive public processes and then in August report back to parliament on which sections of the Constitution should be amended and which laws should be passed so the policy is implemented.
Parties that supported the motion include Agang SA, the National Freedom Party, the United Democratic Movement, the African People’s Convention, and the Inkatha Freedom Party, which stated it will only support the motion on condition that land held in trust by traditional leaders not be considered for redistribution. The IFP later supported the motion once the amendments by the ANC were made.
The African Christian Democratic Party, Congress of the People, Freedom Front Plus and the DA fiercely opposed the motion, with the latter party saying the state should redistribute parts of its 17 million hectares of land, which would not hurt the economy of the country.
DA member of parliament for rural development Ken Robertson said the failure of the government’s land reform programme was the reason why the Constitution should not be amended to ensure the policy is implemented, adding that the successes of the land reform programme in the DA-run Western Cape province serve as an example of how the programme should be implemented.
The chief whip of the opposition, John Steenhuisen, said Section 25 (5) and (8) of the Constitution already provides for equitable distribution of land and that there is no need to amend the constitution because the government has simply failed to properly implement land reform.