The National Assembly has passed the Expropriation Bill which opposition parties including the Democratic Alliance (DA), the Freedom Front Plus and the United Democratic Movement (UDM) opposed, but the African National Congress’ majority won through.
The Bill allows for the expropriation of property not only for the public purpose, such as for roads and power lines, but also in the public interest, to speed up land reform.
The government says the Bill will provide a coherent way to manage expropriation and will speed up land reform.
Critics say the Bill will deter investors but the ANC sees it as key to translating transformation pledges they made into reality.
Both the DA and the UDM believe the Bill is at odds with the Constitution when it comes to the definitions of “property” and “expropriation”.
House chairperson Cedric Frolick announced the results of the vote.
“Honourable members, the outcome of the division is as follows: Those in favour 202, those against 88 and there are two abstentions. The Bill is accordingly agreed to.”
The ANC in Parliament says the Bill, once it becomes law, will help get the land reform programme moving.
Public Works Deputy Minister Jeremy Cronin told MPs the Bill will provide a clear framework for expropriation and fair and equitable compensation.
“Lack of legislative clarity on how to proceed constitutionally with expropriations has been extremely costly to our country. There are notorious cases of extortionate amounts of public money being paid for land restitution, in some cases.”
The Bill must now be agreed to by the National Council of Provinces before President Jacob Zuma can sign it into law.