The Land Expropriation Bill, which was signed into law in May last year by President Jacob Zuma, has been referred back to Parliament for reconsideration.
“The president referred the bill back to the National Assembly because, in his view, Parliament failed to facilitate adequate public participation during the processing of the bill as required by the Constitution,” the presidency said today.
The bill was introduced in order to address land inequalities caused by the apartheid regime, allowing the state to redistribute land for public purpose or in the public interest.
“According to section 79(1) of the Constitution, the president must assent to and sign a bill referred to him by the National Assembly or, if he has reservations about the constitutionality of the bill, refer it back to the National Assembly for reconsideration,” according to the presidency.
Last year, the Democratic Alliance opposed the passing of the bill as the term “property” in the bill was not distinct as referring to land only, which meant it was open to interpretation and could lead to movable property like shares and intellectual property being expropriated.
Land reform and expropriation has been at the forefront of
the national dialogue since Zuma’s state of the nation address last week.
Zuma emphasised in speech that the government budget must
from now on be used to drive the radical economic transformation programme.
He acknowledged that the pace of land restitution was slow,
adding that only 9.8% of the 82 million hectares of arable land had been
transferred to black people.
hoped that Parliament would move fast to rectify the Expropriation Bill, which
was needed to pursue land reform and land redistribution.