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Land reform panel recommends seizures without pay in certain circumstances

Parliament due to start debates on proposed changes to the land expropriation bill in October.

An advisory report on land reform in South Africa has recommended changing the constitution to allow the government to seize land without compensation but only in certain circumstances.

The report by a presidential panel of experts, released on Sunday, poured water on wholesale land seizures without payment – as feared by some farmers, investors and foreign governments.

It recommended that expropriation without compensation be applied under specific circumstances, including abandoned land; land held purely for speculative purposes; land already occupied and used by labour tenants and former labour tenants; and inner city buildings with absentee landlords.

Parliament is due to start debates on proposed changes to the land expropriation bill in October.

“It is important that the Bill must specify much more clearly the meaning of instances that would amount to “nil” compensation,” the panel, appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa, said in the report.

South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC) has repeatedly pledged to accelerate land transfers to the black majority denied ownership rights under apartheid’s segregation laws, but progress has been slow.

Ramaphosa appointed the panel of agricultural economists and practitioners last year to advise the government after the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters party started to dominate the land reform debate and tabled a constitutional amendment to allow the government to seize land without compensation.

The report will be key to how the final law will look.

“The clarification that we are seeking in the mandate is to be more specific in terms of addressing this (expropriation without compensation), and we have gone further to highlight and assist with wording for when such (expropriation) can occur,” Vuyokazi Mahlati, chairwoman of the panel, told a press briefing where the report was released to the public.

Demand for land reform has intensified as unemployment and poverty in South Africa have worsened.

The report said land seizure without payment is one of several of land acquisition strategies available to the government.

It also recommended the Land Claims Court be reformed to become the main expropriation body, and be given additional powers to adjudicate on all land related matters, including the calculations of the value of land targeted for appropriation and what rights affected land owners were entitled to.

On Thursday a draft motion likely to be pushed through by the ANC in parliament is set to give a new parliamentary committee until March 2020 to report back on the proposed changes to land reform laws.

The panel, however, proposed the tweaking of the expropriation bill be finalised by the end of 2019. 

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Socialism is like ebola. It is a highly contagious disease with a high mortality rate. It spreads rapidly among susceptible communities. When the majority of voters recieve more in handouts from the state, than what they contribute in taxes, a country becomes a fertile host for the socialist disease.

This virulent disease starts out small and grows exponentially. When the ignorance and naivity of voters allow populist politicians to buy votes through the expropriation of the assets of property-owners, the process only gains momentum. It never turns around. Politicians then have to outbid one-another on the delivery of handouts.

This disease takes hold the moment the law is diverted from its true purpose, when it plunders property in stead of protecting it. It began as BEE, and it will end in expropriation of all assets. The symptoms are famine and disease and the premature death of the millions who supported it.

Sensei I love reading your comments. For me the most important sentence in the above comment is in the 2. paragraph ” It never turns around”.

This should be printed and put up somewhere, not only on this site of course. It should be done not so that people might change, it should be done so that you can later say “I told you so”.

Politics is merely the advanced auction of stolen property…

“The report poured water on wholesale land seizures without payment”. No it didn’t, it poured gasoline on the fire.

It stipulates the conditions under which land can be expropriated and clearly states: “BUT NOT LIMITED TO” – which means, the conditions listed are meaningless and whoever implements the law can do as they wish.

It also says ‘any land for speculative purchase’. Well, sorry to break it to you but anyone buying a piece of ground or home is speculating to one degree or another. Buyers buy with the intention that the property will appreciate in value in the future.

That is the very definition of speculation. Therefore the ANC can apply this to any property in the country as long as they can give some vague and abstract justification that the owner was ‘speculating’.

This is a horror show and I hope now that it has been released, we will have court cases against this madness for years to come.

I wouldn’t panic about this, and you are jumping the gun way ahead to the point where you are drawing conclusions based on things that aren’t there. This is mostly just politics. There are also plenty of wealthy politicians and people with power out there and they will not like a law where their own properties are put at risk.

Also note that there is a lot of good that can come from this – there are lots of farmable land out there that is not getting utilised. If somebody is simply holding on to farmable land in hope that it appreciates to sell it for a profit, well then I agree that the bill is valid. You need to make a plan and use that land to enhance food security and the economy (for your own gains as well), or you need to stand aside.

Johan,

I think the key point here is property rights. It’s pretty easy for a judge to rule that an owner is speculating hence EWC applies.

In Japan for ex, you’re taxed a lot for extra properties owned in urban areas or ones that aren’t rented out. Thats one way of keeping the speculators away. A similar model could be applied in SA to keep the rich from buying up the whole market while the government earns extra tax revenue.

If EWC gets applied like BEE, it will just shuffle land assets from ‘haves’ to already empowered or connected while the poor once again get nothing. aka Zimbabwe style

None so blind as those who refuse to see whats right in front of them. Its not my conclusion, it’s right there in black and white. Once you grant this level of authority to politicians, you have no control over what they do once they get it.

If Zuma and co with no EWC powers can capture an entire state and loot literally HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS, what do you do think the next thief in line will do with a bill that legalizes state theft? All that’s needed is a pliable judge to pronounce ‘speculation’ and everything suddenly becomes fair game.

I hear you. Still, I think this is mostly politics. However, have a look at another featured article on Moneyweb on this topic – the message there is quite positive. Currently, the progress they are making and the way the issue is tackled is about the best that we can hope for at this stage. We cannot simply claim property rights now and in the past it was fine to just take from others – dealing with this issue is inevitable. If the politicians actually do something about this (not just talk/policy), I do think this will be an extremely long and slow process though. I hope it does not detract too much attention from addressing Eskom.

Ha, the panel finds “demand for land reform has intensified”

Yet the IRR surveys repeatedly show < 1% black respondents want it speeded up.

https://www.iol.co.za/news/opinion/sa-does-not-want-land-reform-says-irr-study-13568252

So we're trying to fix the windscreen wipers to restart a car with a busted engine. Eish

That is exactly what is happening. Why? Well in my view it is to try and distract from the ANC’s wholesale thieving and incompetence and bash the vilified white farmer. Very like Zim.

Abandoned land is pregnant with possibility.

All farmland lying fallow might be deemed abandoned; the bottom half of my garden may be abandoned because there’s nobody living on it; my holiday home at the coast that stands empty for 11 months a year could be abandoned too. How about my 10000 hectare game farm when I just live in the one farmhouse?

Sounds hugely open to interpretation. Maybe they will clear up this confusion in the bill.

Never mind, I think we can rest assured that this an envelope the EFF are going to push with gay abandon.

Yes, but consider this as well:

* Mr Malema also has a garden.
* The president of the ANC also has a game farm.
* Etc …

I am 100% sure that the bill will not say that an “empty, white owned, garden can be expropriated without compensation, but not a black owned one.”

I realise there is something like BEE, but this is not really the same thing.

Johan what are you smoking mate?

If you are connected you wont make it onto the target list… So you pay a bribe here and there and you will be fine. But heaven forbid you ever voice any opposition to government and your house will disappear in an instant…

This is how dictatorships get established, the intention behind the legal framework might have been fine (read smoke and mirrors) but its implementation is at the whim of the comrades…

Sure, but the EFF won’t occupy their land, just yours. Abandoned city properties are another point of weakness. Tenants have a big incentive to hijack properties, get the landlord to abandon the property and then claim then back under EWC.

You really think the EFF, BLF etc will show restraint here. I very much doubt it

Most important now, is that there is a document on the table, private sector will find it’s way to proceed forward with this. As is, this is better than a straight EWC policy, furthermore everybody in the agricultural sector needs to help with upcoming farmers. South Africa is full of difficult cultural differences, we as all South Africans need to make this work. First by stopping this “hatred speech” against each other that floats so easily from people’s tongues.

Seems as though the panel has highlighted what should have been in place for the current mandate of “just and equitable compensation” to work anyway.

So why go to “Unjust and Inequitable compensation” without fulfilling the current mandate?

The damaging populist rhetoric must be put to bed now and they must just do their job’s.

Get on with it man.

Paris. The time, their revolution. Socialism did not exist. The solution for wrongs was simple and effective head cutting. Set free, Europe led the world with innovations. Socialism one of them. All this wealth on human achievement was used in world war one. That war ended with starting socialism first time ever. Today, 200 years later. We planet dwellers really did make a jump ahead. Socialism played a major role in the past 100 years. Education, one of them. To wish for good old times is normal. Not, if that time is commanded by wealth and religion. History tells horror tales. The boer war, one of them.

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