Government seeks clarity on Expropriation Bill process

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma has requested the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces to advise him on the process followed by Parliament in passing the Expropriation Bill.

The bill was voted for adoption in the National Assembly in May.

However, President Zuma received objections against the signing of the bill into law from individuals and various organisations, his office said on Monday.

The petitions raised a number of procedural issues which include that procedures followed by the NCOP and some provincial legislatures in passing the bill were inconsistent with the Constitution.

Others include the failure by the NCOP to facilitate sufficient consultation with the public prior to the adoption of the bill, as well as the objection that the bill was not referred to the National House of Traditional Leaders as required.

Government introduced the bill in order to make progressive land purchases to address inequalities caused by the apartheid regime without being prevented by the willing buyer, willing seller principle.

It was introduced to make provision for a more coherent process of handling the expropriation of land and speeding up land reform.

It seeks to align the Expropriation Act of 1975 with the Constitution and to provide a common framework to guide the processes and procedures for the expropriation of land by organs of State.

The bill, once signed into law, would enable government to purchase land at a value determined by the State adjudicator and then expropriate - provided that the Minister of Public Works is satisfied that the land purchase is in the “public interest”.

“If the expropriating authority and expropriated owner or expropriated holder do not agree on the amount of compensation, they may attempt to settle the dispute by mediation, which must be initiated and finalised without undue delay by either party,” an excerpt from the bill reads.