Parliament, Monday, 23 August 2021 – The Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure has been informed that the possibility that land will be devalued is the primary reason to reject the Expropriation Bill. On Sunday, the committee concluded its second leg of public hearings in the Northern Cape at the Tol Speelman Hall in Upington.
The majority of David Kruiper Local Municipality residents were not in favour of the Bill. They said it should be rejected because further deliberation and engagement is needed to ensure that the Bill is specific on when and how property will be expropriated. In addition, if the Bill is adopted in its current form, it will impact on the willingness of financial institutions to advance loans to assist in property improvements.
There was also a strong view that the right to own property is central to any civilisation and that the Bill has the potential to cause significant impairment to this right. Also, participants raised the risk to homeownership, food security and economic stability. They were also concerned that any uncertainty that leads to food insecurity and economic instability will hurt the poor, while the economic instability that may arise if the Bill becomes law will lead to increased unemployment and poverty.
However, residents also called for a collaborative effort between farm owners, workers, and other stakeholders to ensure that the agricultural sector remains stable and sustainable.
Meanwhile, although the majority of residents rejected the Bill, a sizeable number of participants welcomed it as an effective tool to fight poverty and unemployment. Their views were premised on the notion that the more people who participate in the economy, the better it will be for everyone.
According to the traditional leaders of the Khoi and San nations, the Expropriation Bill will ensure that they are recognised as the original landowners and their ownership of their dispossessed land will be restored.
Moreover, those who supported the Bill highlighted that it will go a long way to ensure equality, as all South Africans will now benefit from the land. Many emerging farmers hoped that the Bill will ensure that big landowners share the land with them, while subsistence farmers emphasised that their growth potential is being curtailed by the unavailability of land. Participants also called on government to speed up the release of state land.
The committee will today continue the public hearings in Khathu at the Kathu City Hall.
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC WORKS AND INFRASTRUCTURE, MS NOLITHA NTOBONGWANA
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