ANC approves land expropriation bill

The government moved closer to passing a law that would allow the state to expropriate white-owned land and assets on Thursday.

The cabinet approved the draft land expropriation bill and will now wait for parliament to approve it.

The bill seeks to replace legislation dating from 1975 and “align the overarching legislation governing the expropriation of property to the values and provisions of the constitution”.

The government tried in 2008 to pass a land and assets expropriation law but it was withdrawn after its constitutionality was questioned.

Deputy Public Works Minister Jeremy Cronin said the current version of the law recognised the jurisdiction of the courts in determining compensation.

The bill also gives other organs of state powers to expropriate, but the government can table limitations once the bill is approved.

The government also approved the establishment of a state-owned property firm that will manage the state’s property portfolio, which is valued at over R530-billion.

Cronin said the National Treasury will also be approached to help capitalise the new State Property Management Agency to the level where it can employ experts such as property lawyers, economists and actuaries and offer them salaries that match those offered in the private sector.

Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi said the agency would be the flagship of his department.

He said the agency would be the largest property company in the country.

The agency was established to enhance the management of land, government buildings and other property assets , including the property portfolios of municipalities and provincial governments, Nxesi said.