South Africa’s main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party has moved to court to challenge a proposed law that would allow the expropriation of land without compensation.
DA wants the Constitutional Court to stop any amendment to Section 25 of the Constitution, as proposed by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).
ANC and EFF will likely work together to get the two-thirds majority required to amend the Bill of Rights.
An ad hoc committee led by National Assembly chairperson Thoko Didiza has been elected and has already met to start looking at the amendments.
Continue to fight
“The DA opposes the amendment of our precious Bill of Rights, and we will continue to fight it in the highest court in the land. The DA will not allow the ANC and the EFF to trample on the rights of South Africans,” DA lawmaker Thandeka Mbabama said.
President Cyril Ramaphosa recently said the government had identified parcels owned by the state for redistribution as part of accelerating land reform.
The state has a property portfolio of more than 93,000 buildings and more than 1.9 million hectares of land under the custody of the Department of Public Works.
President Ramaphosa’s expert advisory panel is expected to submit its report next month.
“Our policy and legislative interventions will ensure that more land is made available for agriculture, industrial development and human settlements. I wish to commend the many South Africans who participated in the work of the Constitutional Review
Committee in the dialogue that ensued through the length and the breadth of the country,” the South African leader said.
“Alongside this constitutional review process, we tasked the deputy president to lead the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Land Reform to fast-track land reform. An advisory panel of experts headed by Dr Vuyo Mahlati, established to advise government on its land reform programme, is expected to table its report by the end of March 2019,” President Ramaphosa said.
Critics of the drive to amend Section 25 of the Constitution often say the government should focus on redistributing land it owns, some of which was unaccounted for or underutilised.