Why Land Seizure Is Back in the News in South Africa
The ruling African National Congress decided in December 2017 that expropriation without compensation was among the mechanisms needed to accelerate land reform, as long as it didn’t undermine the economy, agricultural production and food security. While it wants to amend Section 25 of the constitution, which deals with property rights, it only controls 58% of the seats in parliament and needs two-thirds of lawmakers to assent to changes. The Economic Freedom Fighters, the third-biggest political party, which has 11% of the seats and also supports expropriation, wanted the state to take custodianship of all land — a proposition the ANC says would go too far. Parliament has yet to vote on the changes. Lawmakers are processing a separate Expropriation Bill that sets out when land can be seized. Passing it only requires a parliamentary majority, but its application could be challenged on constitutional grounds.