SABC News - Govt should look at implications of Expropriation Bill: Economist:Saturday 27 February 2016

Govt should look at implications of Expropriation Bill: Economist

Saturday 27 February 2016 09:45

Mercedes Besent

The bill will empower the Minister of Public Works to expropriate property if it is in the interest of the public.

The bill will empower the Minister of Public Works to expropriate property if it is in the interest of the public. (SABC)

Economist and professor at North West University's Business School, Raymond Parsons says government should look at the economic implications of the Expropriation Bill.

The National Assembly passed the Bill earlier this week.

The bill was passed by the National Assembly on Tuesday and has been sent to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) for concurrence.

The bill will empower the Minister of Public Works to expropriate property if it is in the interest of the public.

Parsons says, “I think we need to stand back now whether you are the government or the stakeholder and say is this legislation in all respects consistent with what we are trying to do in terms of the National Development  Plan, in trying to make South Africa a preferred investment destination, in wanting to be downgraded in our investment rating?”

“All this requires us just to stand back and look again. I think that is the challenge that we face, in the light of the message, both of the State of the Nation and the Budget about how we want to mobilise investors and build business confidence.”

Commercial Farmers' union Agri-SA says it will challenge the Expropriation Bill in the Constitutional Court if the definition of "expropriation"  is not removed by the National Council of Provinces.

Union President, Johannes Moller says they will await the NCOP process before taking further action.

“We will probably go that route first and ask them to remove the definition, because that is currently our main objection of the bill in its current format. Remove the definition because there are other bills that are already regulating expropriation. We hope that the Council of Provinces will make the necessary adjustment and then it won’t be necessary to go to the constitutional court.”

The African Nation Congress (ANC) has described the legislation as one of the most important to be passed in the National Assembly since 1994.

ANC Parliamentary caucus spokesperson Molotho Mothapo says the bill is a departure from what he called the ineffective willing buyer willing seller principle.

“It is something that the people of South Africa, the dispossessed majority of South Africans have been waiting for and  it will serve to  speed up our land reform  process, because no more would the efforts of the State to redistribute land be frustrated by land owners who previously either refused to sell land  or expected exorbitant amounts of  money from government in order to give up land.”

The Democratic Alliance Spokesperson on Public Works, Patricia Kopane says the party has reservations about certain clauses that need to be modified.

“Unfortunately, this bill now is not in the interest of protecting the individual, so the State is more powerful. It does not protect the property rights in terms of the property rights, that is the other thing we are concern about it.”

Kopano says, “One of our concern as a party particularly is about the mechanism through how the compensation is being determined. Currently the bill as it stands, there are certain circumstances that need to be considered, but what is silent in the bill, it doesn't State who will determine those circumstances.”

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