Land expropriation bill on its way back to parliament

By Daily Maverick Legacy 9 October 2009

The shelved bill which would allow government to expropriate farm land for redistribution is to be resubmitted to parliament, according to Thozi Gwanya, director general of the rural development and land affairs ministry. "The minister of public works and the minister of rural development are in the process of reviving the discussions on the bill so that they can go and reopen the debate and the hearings (in parliament)," Gwanya told Reuters on the sidelines of a farmers' congress. Business Day reports the same story, adding that Gwanya declined to be drawn on whether officials would still have the power to determine compensation. “All these issues are still under discussion.” This matter is critical because the bill was withdrawn due to the potential for constitutional challenges to the previous legislation, not on the basis of the argument about redistribution, but because the previous legislation excluded court jurisdiction. Gwanya previously admitted this year it would not meet the target of transferring 30% of white farmland to blacks by 2014 because government had run out of money and was concerned about declining production on farms which have already been redistributed. About 5% has been transferred.

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