The newly proposed Expropriation Bill targets all assets of all citizens. This was the message that Free State Agriculture (FSA) conveyed on 14 December during a media conference on the proposed Expropriation Bill.

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FSA released a report during their media conference in which the organisation pointed out the dangers of the proposed legislation. “Unfortunately, in South Africa we do not have the certainty that the government is committed to entrenching fundamental economic building blocks. The most recent example of this is the proposed Expropriation Bill,” says Francois Wilken, president of FSA.

“In general discourse, it is incorrectly assumed that only agricultural land is the target of expropriation without compensation. However, this law is not just an attack on farmers and landowners, but an attack on every individual’s property rights,” says Wilken.

Problems with the Expropriation Bill

During the media conference, Dr Jack Armour, FSA operations manager, and Annelize Crosby, Agri SA head of Land Affairs, highlighted the biggest problems with the Expropriation Bill. These include:

  • The stated purpose of the Expropriation Bill, namely redistribution.
  • The reason for expropriation, namely public interest, which is not broadly defined.
  • The law allows expropriation without compensation.
  • The law establishes broad general categories within which expropriation without compensation can take place.
  • All assets can be targeted by this legislation.

Crosby said the Expropriation Bill is the mechanism that is used by every single authority that has expropriation powers. “The powers of expropriation are provided in other pieces of legislation. We might see more legislation in the future granting legislative power to different ministers and even local authorities for different purposes.”

She said the Expropriation Bill has been improved over time, but there are remaining issues that are quite serious, such as the definition of the Expropriation Bill, the labour tenants issue, and the issue of costs for the landowner to go to court.

The Expropriation Bill must be stopped

“This law must be stopped and therefore public opposition in this process is extremely important for FSA,” says Wilken. “Citizens must realise that if one person’s property rights can be targeted by the state, everyone’s property rights are in jeopardy.

“Therefore, FSA intends to mobilise support against this amendment law as wide as possible. Expropriation without compensation is a make-or-break thing not only for farmers, but also for the country and all her people.” – Hugo Lochner, AgriOrbit

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