land

South African parliament’s Ad Hoc Committee, tasked with amending the Constitution to pave the way for land expropriation without compensation, decided on Wednesday to refer its work to the next parliament.

The committee agreed to refer the task to the next parliament, committee chairperson Thoko Didiza said. The committee’s report will be presented to the National Assembly (upper house of parliament) for deliberation and adoption, Didiza said. South Africa will hold general elections on May 8 to elect the sixth parliament since the end of apartheid in 1994. The current National Council of Provinces (lower house of parliament) will be dissolved days before the elections. In December 2018, the parliament decided to establish the Ad Hoc Committee and mandated the committee to initiate legislation amending section 25 of the Constitution to allow land expropriation without compensation.

Since its first meeting on Feb. 12, the committee has held extensive engagements with experts on land reform and Constitution. Among other things, it received briefings from the Parliamentary Legal Services on the legislative process and held public hearings across the country. Over the past year, the South African government has been facilitating the process to expropriate land without compensation, drawing ire from opponents at home and abroad. Opponents argue that the process will drive away white farmers, threaten food security and have a negative impact on the economy.

But the government has repeatedly assured that it will pursue the land reform.About 25 years after the end of apartheid, the minority whites still own most of the land in South Africa. The ruling African National Congress has been under fire for lacking political will to address the land issue.

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