Parliament agrees not to approve expropriation bill at this stage

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Parliament,– The National Assembly at its plenary sitting on Tuesday 4 September 2018 approved the recommendation of the report of the Public Works Portfolio Committee that the House not approve the Expropriation Bill at this stage.

The Minister of Public Works tabled the Expropriation Bill in Parliament in February 2015. The Bill went through all relevant statutory processes and was sent to the former President for assent. The former President twice returned the Bill to Parliament on procedural grounds – on 20 July 2016 and on 14 February 2017.

In its report on the Bill to the National Assembly, the Portfolio Committee on Public Works said it had originally planned to recommence public hearings on the Bill, in collaboration with the National Council of Provinces’ Select Committee on Economic and Business Development.

However, this approach was overtaken by the 27 February 2018 resolution of the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces. The National Assembly and National Council of Provinces mandated the joint Constitutional Review Committee to determine whether a review of section 25 of the Constitution and other clauses is necessary to make it possible for the state to expropriate land in the public interest without compensation and to propose constitutional amendments, where necessary.

The holding of public hearings on the Expropriation Bill, which does not envisage expropriation without compensation, would have created confusion and duplication of the current Constitutional Review Committee public hearings.

Spokesperson for Parliament, Mr Moloto Mothapo, said the Portfolio Committee, therefore, recommended that the National Assembly not approve the Expropriation Bill, pending the conclusion of the process regarding the possible review of Section 25 of the Constitution – so that it could be re-introduced at a later stage should it become necessary.