The National Assembly has passed the Expropriation Bill by an overwhelming majority, following a vote by Members of Parliament.
The Bill, passed by the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), was supported by eight provinces, with the Western Cape being the only province that did not support it.
The NCOP had sent the Bill back to the National Assembly for concurrence after it made changes to the earlier version of the Bill that the National Assembly passed in February.
Two hundred and eight members voted in favour of the Bill, while seven voted against it being adopted.
The passing of the Bill is another step closer to allowing government to make progressive land purchases to address inequalities caused by the apartheid regime, without being prevented by the willing seller, willing buyer principle.
The Bill was introduced to make provision for a more coherent process of handling the expropriation of land and speeding up land reform and seeks to align the Expropriation Act of 1975 with the Constitution. It provides a common framework to guide the processes and procedures for the expropriation of land by the state.
Once signed into law, the Bill will enable government to purchase land at a value determined by the state adjudicator and then expropriate itprovided that the Minister of Public Works is satisfied the land purchase is in the ‘public interest’.
It states: “If the expropriating authority and expropriated owner or expropriated holder do not agree on the amount of compensation, they may attempt to settle the dispute by mediation, which must be initiated and finalised without undue delay by either party.”
The National Assembly has now referred the Bill to President Jacob Zuma for approval.