The Guard

The Truth On Board

Mixed reactions to expropriation law

By Libuseng Nyaka

BETHLEHEM – A huge chunk of Thabo Mofutsanyana residents opposed the Expropriation Bill on Wednesday May 24 ,2023 , during a public hearing held at the new Dihlabeng local municipality’s hall.

Before the community members inputs on the Bill, an officer from the national department of public works Mogoatije Johannes Lekala summarised what the bill seeks to address.

Key aspects of the bill, according Lekala, fall short of certain requirements of the Constitution.
“Broadly, the bill seeks to: provide for the expropriation of property for a public purpose or in the public interest; regulate the procedure for the expropriation of property for a public purpose or in the public interest, including payment of compensation; identify certain instances where the provision of nil compensation may be just and equitable for expropriation in the public interest and repeal the Expropriation Act, 1975 (Act No. 63 of 1975); and to provide for matters connected therewith,” Lekala explained.

In its current form, the Bill allows the expropriation of land only for public purposes and in the interest of the public, as stipulated in Section 25 of the Constitution. Section 25(3) requires the amount of compensation for land to be “just and equitable” – reflecting an equitable balance between the public interest and the interests of those affected. It furrher makes it possible for the expropriation of land with “nil compensation” under specific circumstances.

Those opposing it gave various reasons.
Representing Bethlehem farmers association Hugo van Doornick said farmers do not support the bill in it’s current form.
“As the Free State agriculture sector, we do not support the Bill . The definition in the Bill .The danger of a narrow definition such as the current proposal in the Bill is that it may open the door for all kinds of government action that may severely limit property rights without compensation, or even acquiring property on behalf of third party without compensation. The focus should be on the laws that the owner suffers, not on acquisition by government organs.

“We are of the view that the definition should be scrapped. This will allow the courts of law to deal with each on its own merit. Alternatively , the definition must be wide enough to include all forms of expropriation recognised internationally.”

One of those in support of the legislature, Mosiuoa Letlatsa said the Bill is a relief to the majority of black people.

“It is so sad that despite being the majority, land is still in the powers of the minority. I support this Bill because it will make sure that even black people have land.”

The chairperson of the committee Sarah Moleleki welcomed all inputs.

“All inputs made here are very important and will be considered. I thank every community member who attended.”

Moleleki also reminded residents that those who have not attended the public hearing could still forward written inputs and email them to before June 23, 2023.