Parliament, Saturday, 28 August 2021 – The Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure was informed by the residents of Welkom in the Free State yesterday that there is a greater risk of erosion of property rights if the Expropriation Bill is signed into law. The committee concluded the second of the four public hearings in the Free State with relatively balanced views about the Bill.
Those opposed to the Bill highlighted that there is a documentable proof that erosion of property rights has created uncertainty which will result in economic failure of South Africa. Furthermore, according to dissenters, the signing of the Bill will inevitably translate into food insecurity, job losses and economic instability.
There was also a rejection of the Bill for any reference or circumstance where compensation could be nil or below market value. This was based on the assumption that expropriation with nil compensation will destroy investor confidence and would not be in the best public interest. There were also fears that the definition for public interest is too broad and that broadness exposes it for manipulation and abuse by government officials.
Those that supported the Bill said that there was a need to bring the enabling legislation in line with the current environment and requirements. There was a strong suggestion that for economic transformation to occur, there should be a concerted effort to dispel fearmongering especially in relation to the possibility of economic stagnation and food insecurity. Those that support the Bill emphasised that the Bill is necessary to ensure equal access to economic opportunities in the country.
They said it is also necessary to assist the government to unlock its stalled land reform programme and they argued that it is going to promote an atmosphere for inclusive participation in the economic development that will lead to the creation of employment to push back the frontiers of poverty in South Africa.
Inaccessibility to land by the majority of South Africans was emphasised as a major impediment which the Bill promises to resolve to ensure that many young South Africans who show new and bright entrepreneurial ideas can have access to the land to translate those ideas into economic activities.
The committee will tomorrow continue with the hearings in Bethlehem.
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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