NATIONAL NEWS - Experts, farmers and other stakeholders believe the new property Expropriation Bill and the noise it raised during the current hearings on it may scare away investors, and that the legislation is open to abuse by government officials.
But in its presentation on the Bill, Business Unity South Africa (Busa) said while it understood the need for expropriation, the government needed to apply it with caution and strict compliance with the constitution.
Busa said the economy faced its greatest challenges in light of a depressed global macro environment, and a possible ratings downgrade. “SA cannot afford a Bill that works against investment promotion and growth. In order for SA to raise the growth rate and create jobs, both the investment and business climates must be conducive.”
The Centre for Development Enterprise (CDE) lambasted the legislation. Director Anne Bernstein said the timing was bad and it would scare off investors.
“SA’s land reform challenge is not about expropriation. This Bill does nothing to address the underlying problems of capacity, competence and integrity that bedevil government’s land reform strategy.”
The CDE, a think-tank that has done massive research on land reform and contributed immensely to expert discourse on the subject over two decades, was concerned about abuse of the law by officials.
The organisation has made proposals on how to deal with the apartheid legacy and build on state and private sector capacity to manage land reform.
In Mpumalanga, as in other provinces, participants told the committee the Bill was not explicit in its definition of “public purpose and public interest”. Busa proposed a broader definition of “public purpose” and for clear regulation of its requirement in legislation to ensure conformity with the constitution.
Committee chair Nolitha Ntobongwana promised to call after the hearing to clarify issues but had not at time of going to print.