The ANC caucus in Parliament will table an amendment to the motion made by the Economic Freedom Fighters on land expropriation without compensation that will be debated in the National Assembly on Tuesday afternoon, the caucus’ spokesperson has confirmed.
The EFF’s motion seeks to amend the Constitution, with the party’s draft resolution stating that Section 25 of the Constitution has failed to deliver on land reform. Section 25 currently requires the state to pay compensation.
The ANC adopted land expropriation without compensation as policy at its 54th elective conference in December 2017, but the caucus is not entirely satisfied with the EFF’s proposed changes to the Constitution.
“The ANC will table the amendment so that the motion is in line with the resolution the party made at its elective conference,” said caucus spokesperson Nonceba Mhlauli.
Mhlauli told the Mail & Guardian that the amendment would focus on safeguarding food security. According to the party’s declaration from its December elective conference, the ANC resolved to expropriate land without compensation if food security is not compromised.
“Conference resolved that the ANC should, as a matter of policy, pursue expropriation of land without compensation. This should be pursued without destabilising the agricultural sector, without endangering food security in our country and without undermining economic growth and job creation,” the declaration reads.
In its draft resolution, the EFF says that a parliamentary ad hoc committee should be established to review and amend Section 25 so that land expropriation is possible without compensation. Academics, policy experts, civil society and the public will be invited to submit proposals in public hearings at Parliament.
If the EFF’s proposal is accepted, the ad hoc committee will be made up of six ANC MPs, two Democratic Alliance MPs, 1 EFF MP and two MPs from other parties.
The debate on Tuesday is highly anticipated as it could lead to the first major step to make amendments to the Constitution so that land can be expropriated without compensation.
The land issue also formed part of a significant shift in the ANC, as the December conference marked the first time the ruling party adopted the policy of land expropriation without compensation.
In his maiden State of the Nation Address, President Cyril Ramaphosa promised to ensure that national government moves ahead with the policy to “redress a grave historical injustice”.
“We will pursue a comprehensive approach that makes effective use of all the mechanisms at our disposal,” he said. “Guided by the resolutions of the 54th National Conference of the governing party, this approach will include the expropriation of land without compensation.”
Agri SA, an organisation representing the interests of farm-owners, has criticised the ANC for agreeing to the policy. The lobby group said that if the policy was implemented, it would result in divestment.
“We challenge the ANC to explain to South Africans how the proposed amendment of the Constitution would enhance production or successful development of new farmers,” the organisation said in December.
Agriculture has the largest growth potential of any sector in the economy and we should work together to explore and capitalise on this opportunity,” Agri SA added.
If the motion is to succeed, the EFF requires the ANC majority in parliament to vote with its members. In total, 264 votes out of 400 will be required to begin the process to amend the Constitution. The ANC has 249 of the 400 seats in the National Assembly and the EFF has 25.
The debate is set to begin in the National Assembly at 2pm.