South Africa’s Parliament has passed a motion steered by the radical opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) on land reform.
The motion sponsored by the EFF’s leader Julius Malema calls for a constitutional amendment that allows for land expropriation without compensation.
It received backing from the ruling African National Congress (ANC) which controls about two-thirds of South Africa’s parliament.
The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) however opposed the motion arguing that changes to Section 25 will undermine property rights and scare off potential investors.241 voted in favour against 83.
This sets the tone for a constitutional review which will see the transfer of land from white to black South Africans without compensation.
President Cyril Ramaphosa who in his first State of the Nation address as president promised to speed up the transfer of land to black people, said on Tuesday, that the expropriation should be done in a way that increases agricultural production and improves food security.
Moving for a debate on the motion on the floor of the House, Malema said the move was necessary to “ensure that we restore the dignity of our people without compensating the criminals who stole our land.”
But the Democratic Alliance’s deputy shadow minister for rural development and land reform, Thandeka Mbabama argued that the expropriation without compensation was a way of diverting attention from the failure by successive ANC-led governments to get to grips with the issue.
It is not clear when the change to Section 25 of the constitution to allow expropriation of land without compensation takes place but the constitution review committee has been tasked by parliament to review the constitution and report back to it by August 30.