Land expropriation coronavirus committee

Views from the Fynbos Pods at Farm215. Photo: Amy Lyn Eveleigh Photography

Land expropriation knocked off course by coronavirus

The Committee in charge of amending the Constitution to allow for land expropriation in South Africa are postponing their work, due to coronavirus.

Land expropriation coronavirus committee

Views from the Fynbos Pods at Farm215. Photo: Amy Lyn Eveleigh Photography

An ad hoc Committee on amending Section 25 of the Constitution has asked to postpone the process of implementing land expropriation without compensation across South Africa, after various logistical challenges posed by coronavirus temporarily derailed the government’s plans.

Land expropriation ‘delayed by coronavirus’

The Committee will now send a letter to the speaker of the National Assembly asking for an extension to finalise their proposals. There will be no date or timeframe on the request, which could cause something of a headache for the legislative teams in the National Assembly.

The meeting, which took place over the weekend, has a consensus of contributors who were adamant that no progress could be made on land expropriation while South Africa remains in lockdown. Even the easing of restrictions – due to take place next week – still makes life difficult for Parliamentary representatives.

Land expropriation Committee request more time

Those present on the Zoom meeting made the following points, before arriving at a unanimous conclusion:

  • “Until this COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown eases to the point where we can meet in person to discuss these issues, we have to delay the process of land expropriation.”
  • “We request an extension to finalise our proposals and complete the job. Parliament and the whole nation knows about the situation… we can’t put a date on it, but we will need to delay our final decision.”
  • “We cannot stipulate on an extension date – that must be communicated when the lockdown situation ends. We shouldn’t be specific on a date, but we should only resume our work on land expropriation at a later stage.”
  • “It’s likely we will request an extension until it is safe to resume public consultations and meet in Parliament.”

Coronavirus to blame for LWEC hold-up

This marks the second delay of the year for parliament’s ad-hoc Committee, who had previously missed a deadline to share their amendments to the Constitution back in March. They were given until 29 May to draft the changes, but once more, they’ve asked to push back – albeit in more extraordinary circumstances this time.

The need to push forward with land expropriation plans comes just months after Mike Pompeo – the US Secretary of State and ‘right-hand man’ to Donald Trump – slammed South Africa’s proposals as ‘disastrous’. But, even in the middle of a coronavirus pandemic, the Committee’s progress will be observed hawkishly.