Parliaments Adoption of the Motion to Review the Constitution to Allow for Land Expropriation is a Step in the Right Direction
The SA National Assembly yesterday (Tuesday, February 27th, 2018) adopted the motion tabled by the EFF and amended by the ANC to start the process of amending the Constitution to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation.
This motion, was tabled by the EFF leader Julius Malema, and was adopted with a vote of 241 in support, and 83 against. The only parties that were against the motion included the DA, Freedom Front Plus, COPE and the ACDP. The matter will now be passed on to the Constitutional Review Committee which must report back to Parliament by August 30, 2018.
While the EFF’s motion originally called for the establishment of an ad hoc committee, which had to report back to the National Assembly by the end of May, the ANC suggested an amendment, which was also supported by the EFF. The Constitutional Review Committee’s work will include public participation in the process.
Given the overwhelming support for this motion, it is time for South Africa to reflect without emotions on the process to ensure effective and meaningful land reform and land restitution. While land holders in their own interest and in their majority will definitely not agree to this process, those who continue to bear the brunt of dispossession and poverty are singing “Kumbaya” and hoping to see this process succeed. The reality on the ground in SA points to the fact that poverty in South Africa has a “black” face and continues to do so despite current policies in place to enable access of black people to into meaningful employment. Inequality continues to grow, over 17 million South Africans, depend on grants, a majority of whom are blacks, productive land in South Africa still remains in its majority in the hands of whites.
It is also reality that previous willing buyer willing seller efforts to restore land to black people have failed due to various reasons. Evidence also points to the fact that land ownership gives tenure of security to land holders and also access to productive land will enable more production. It is time for South Africa to deal with the elephant in the room once and for all. Given the current leadership in the country, there is hope that this process if finally adopted and the constitution reformed to enable land expropriation without compensation, it will done in a way not as to impact on food security but rather to enable it if the Presidents words on the issue are anything to go by.
While expropriating and giving land to blacks in South Africa cannot be viewed as a magic bullet to solve SA’s problems, it can go a long way to positively contribute to the black economy and food security for poor.