Urban property in government sights for expropriation

8 September 2022 - As the deadline approaches for the Parliamentary Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure to approve the Expropriation Bill, it is becoming clear how the new law is to be used.

As the deadline approaches for the Parliamentary Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure to approve the Expropriation Bill, it is becoming clear how the new law is to be used.

Human Settlements Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi announced to the recent Human Settlements and Exhibition Indaba that expropriation without compensation was a tool she was urged to use to deal with urban housing challenges.

“I am often reminded as the Minister of Human Settlements that [the] law empowers me to expropriate land without compensation, if necessary, provided that such land is suitable and needed for human settlements,” she said.

The Institute of Race Relations has warned that Expropriation without Compensation is likely to be applied more extensively than merely to worthless holdings, and farmland. Urban property may be a far more tempting prize.

While the minister is correct to point to the availability of land as a factor in dealing with the challenges of housing South Africa’s urban population, access to land is far from the only factor. It is also a reckless course to invoke it to push ahead with the EWC agenda.

The Institute cautions that giving more power to an incapacitated and often corrupt state through the Expropriation Bill and the EWC policy poses a significant risk, and South Africa would be well advised to take note of this threat.

EWC will have gravely negative effects on South Africa’s economic environment, and its future prospects. This will in turn compound rather than alleviate the housing shortages in towns and cities.

The Institute has crafted a comprehensive programme of urban housing provision and reform in its Indlu proposal, which emphasises expanding the granting of title to property, upgrading informal settlements, acquiring favourably situated land and using a national housing voucher. (See https://irr.org.za/reports/atLiberty/files/liberty-issue-44-reaching-the-promised-land-18-09-2019.pdf/view)

 
* Afrikaans-language media are requested to retain the acronym ‘IRR’, rather than using ‘IRV’.

Media Contact: Hermann Pretorius, IRR director of communications – 079 875 4290; hermann@irr.org.za
Media enquiries: Michael Morris Tel: 066 302 1968; michael@irr.org.za

 

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