Despite numerous written and oral submissions from KwaZulu-Natal’s (KZN’s) people – indicating concern and confusion around the Expropriation Bill – the ANC and EFF in the province have bull-dozed ahead in a bid to finalise a negotiating mandate.
This after a recent KZN Public Works portfolio committee meeting saw the doomsday coalition vote in support of a vague and problematic piece of legislation in the face of strong objections raised by opposition parties.
The ANC/EFF stance smacks of self-interest. The Bill in its current form is wholly in favour of government and offers no protection to KZN’s citizens.
The DA has highlighted numerous concerns which include;
• The Bill provides for “expropriation for public good or interest” – with the result that government could arbitrarily decide what constitutes public good or interest
• The Bill adopts the constitutional definition of property to include intellectual property which means that expropriation may go way beyond just land and buildings
• It also provides for nil compensation for expropriated property, leaving property owners in the lurch in terms of outstanding bank loans, rates and utilities
• There has been little opportunity for input from traditional leaders despite the majority of KZN land belonging to the Ingonyama Trust
• Property valuation remains a concern with a lack of clarity regarding valuers’ qualifications and whether relocation costs and other important factors would be considered and;
• The transfer of expropriated property can still proceed as normal if there are delays in compensation despite the effect on those waiting to be reimbursed.
Furthermore, while KZN has held eight public hearings, most have been away from urban areas. This is an obvious attempt by the ANC to discourage maximum public participation. Residents of the province’s only metro – eThekwini – did not even have a public hearing and instead had to travel to Pietermaritzburg to voice their concerns.
While government should have some form of expropriation legislation, it cannot be one that offers no compensation. It also cannot be expropriation that has not been properly considered and which protects both government and the people.
If KZN’s Taliban faction ANC cannot even get the basics right then it is in no way equipped to handle the complex issue of expropriation and be fair and professional in its execution.
A DA-led Public Works department in KZN will focus on maintaining and protecting all government owned properties and ensure proper, broad public participation to properly gauge citizens’ concerns.
In 2024 voters will have the opportunity to elect a government that puts them first and vote for a party that governs well and fights to protect private property rights. Now – more than ever – every South African must vote against a delusional ANC/EFF doomsday coalition.