Parliament, Sunday, 22 August 2021 – The Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure has concluded its first leg of public hearings on the Expropriation Bill in the Northern Cape with a majority of the Khai Ma Local Municipality residents rejecting the Bill on the grounds that it threatens property rights.
“We are grateful for the people of Khai Ma Local Municipality who, despite the prevalence of Covid-19, attended the hearings to make valuable contributions on this important Bill. We will take their views as expressed into consideration at Parliament when we finalise the Bill,” said Ms Nolitha Ntobongwana, the Chairperson of the Committee.
The majority of views presented raised a fear that the Bill, especially Expropriation with nill compensation, threatens the Constitutional right to property. They highlighted the pervasive risk of corruption if the state was to be entrusted with the custodianship of the entire country’s portfolio of property. Furthermore, the participants raised the state’s inability to distribute the state land to beneficiaries as proof of its incapacity to act as a custodian for the land.
Also, a number of participants highlighted the potential of economic risk posed by the passing of the Bill. Of concern, according to participants, was the inherent risk of disinvestment from the country and possible economic sanctions which will contribute to the already rising unemployment and deepening poverty. A question was raised on the ability of the state to inherit the debt that many farmers have with commercial banks in the event of the expropriation of the agricultural land.
Although the Bill was rejected by the majority of participants, there were participants who supported it advancing an argument that the Bill is a cogent tool to ensure redistribution of the land especially to those that suffered under successive land dispossessions as a result of colonialism and apartheid. They said there is a need for government to engage the financial sector for the purposes of monetary investment post expropriation, to ensure productivity of the land and guaranteed food security.
The public hearings in the Northern Cape resumed following an interlude necessitated by concerns relating to high rate of Covid-19 infections in the Northern Cape and Free State provinces. In order to hold public hearings under the threatening conditions of the Covid-19 pandemic, the committee ensured strict adherence to Covid-19 regulations and non-pharmaceutical interventions. The committee will today hold the second leg of the hearings in Upington.
Details of the Public Hearings (Day 2)
Date: Sunday, 22 August 2021
Venue: Tol Speelman Hall, Upington
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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