South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) on Tuesday withdrew a bill on expropriation passed by parliament in 2016.
The bill enables the state to make compulsory purchases of land to redress racial disparities in land ownership.
The ANC said the bill, which had not been signed into law, was withdrawn to allow an ongoing process that could lead to the changing of the constitution to pave way for expropriation of land without compensation.
NAN reports that the ANC wanted the government to immediately use Section 25 of the Constitution to expropriate land without compensation.
ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule said the party had requested its sub-committees to come up with a programme of action in the next two months to undertake expropriation in an orderly fashion.
Magashule said the party had adopted the report of the land summit, which had discussed the matter two weeks ago.
“[The NEC has resolved to] immediately use Section 25 of the Constitution to press ahead with the expropriation of land in order to test the argument that the Constitution does permit expropriation of land without compensation.”
Magashule said that should it be found that the section impeded such expropriation‚ the party had resolved that the Constitution would then be changed.
This has been an argument made by a number of legal minds, including judges and advocates specialising in constitutional matters.
Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi‚ who recently published the book, The Land is Ours‚ has also made similar arguments.
Magashule said the party also wanted to accelerate both the land expropriation and the land restitution bills to bring about greater clarity.
“The NEC calls for broader-based public participation of all South Africans in the constitutional review process.”
He said the NEC had called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to move swiftly and appoint an expert panel on land reform, adding, “We have called on our municipalities to ensure they give people service sites so that we speed up this programme of expropriation of land without compensation.”