The Joint Committee on Constitutional Review which has been tasked by Parliament to review section 25 of the Constitution will, in April be embarking on a public participation process to consider views on the issue of expropriation without compensation. This is in accordance with a vote taken by Parliament in February to consider ammending the Constitution to allow for expropriation without compensation.
SERI has considered the motion and made a submission to the constitutional review committee in accordance with the public consultation process. SERI’s submission considers expropriation as a policy tool for the implementation of land reform and highlights the potential that it has to assist the state in unlocking speculatively held or abandoned land. It further argues that expropriation can enable the state to acquire vacant land and buildings which could then be used for the provision of permanent housing.
The submission further considers expropriation in relation to the Constitution and existing law and conclude that the state may, within existing laws, take a much more proactive approach to expropriation, by employing the existing instruments at its disposal to bring about meaningful land reform. Only once those efforts have been tested and found wanting will it be possible to consider whether constitutional and statutory amendments are necessary or desirable.