DA to challenge any attempt to bulldoze Expropriation Bill through parliament

Issued by Sello Seitlholo MP and Tim Brauteseth MP –
20 Mar 2024 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached a Setswana soundbite by Sello Seitlholo MP and find attached an English soundbite by Tim Brauteseth MP.

Yesterday the ANC-led government bulldozed yet another ruinous bill through the National Council of Provinces in a desperate, last-ditch effort to cobble votes together in the run-up to the national and provincial elections in May 2024.  The Expropriation Bill, which amounts to nothing more than introducing expropriation without compensation through the legislative backdoor, was passed in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) – with the ANC in full support.

The DA has raised the alarm on this bill many times before. Besides being clearly inconsistent with section 25 of the Constitution, which provides that property can only be expropriated “subject to compensation”, the process followed in guiding the Bill through the NCOP committee was plagued by irregularities and an alarming level of disinterest in ANC-governed provinces to comply with proper parliamentary procedure.

The ANC-led government, unconcerned by tampering with our constitutional rights in this way, and with some fancy footwork, has snuck a provision into the bill to allow for expropriation with “nil compensation”, in the hopes that this would pass constitutional muster.  It is patently obvious to anyone who reads this bill that this is nothing more than expropriation without compensation in disguise.

In addition to this destructive clause, the Bill further gives the Minister of Public Works the power to expropriate property in the public interest or for a public purpose. This clause is unreasonably vague with no definition as to what this may entail. Equally as destructive, is the provision which dictates that any delay in payment of compensation to the expropriated owner will not prevent the passing of the right to possession to the government. What this means is that even where a fee may be agreed, it may result in a de facto nil compensation where payment can be delayed for years, whilst the property has already been expropriated.

The DA will not let this assault on our constitutional values go unanswered. As changes were made to the original Bill passed by the National Assembly (NA), the Bill will now return to them for either approval or mediation. Should the ANC in the NA once again abuse its majority, the DA can confirm that it will instruct its attorneys to immediately send a letter of demand to the President to demand that he refer the Expropriation Bill back to the National Assembly for reconsideration of its constitutionality. In terms of the Constitution, the President must refer a Bill back to the NA where constitutional concerns exist.

The DA will continue to fight this archaic Bill to the very end in order to protect the property rights of South Africans. The ANC is risking the property rights of millions of South Africans purely for cheap political gain. As we see the ANC falling substantially below 50% in voter support, the DA will not allow them to pass dangerous legislation for bad faith electioneering.