Expropriation Bill tops parliamentary agenda

Expropriation Bill to be voted on ….

Sent to clients 4 January….The Expropriation Bill is now carried over into this year’s first parliamentary termcronin2 because of the earlier strike of parliamentary workers, still not fully resolved. The Bill originally provided for the “expropriation of property for a public purpose or in the public interest, subject to just and equitable compensation.”

What defines “a public purpose”, “property” and “the public interest” have been the subject of five weeks of hearings and debate in the Portfolio Committee of Public Works. Reference to the Constitution has been constantly made.

The Bill, considerably refined in some aspects, is expected to be passed quite early in the new parliamentary year as part of a personal determined drive by Deputy Minister of Public Works, Jeremy Cronin.

Behind the Bill

Minister Cronin has attended each and every portfolio committee debate, all the hearings and responded for the most part to Opposition questioning and the rejection, to varying degrees, to changes of some of the proposals contained in the Bill and accommodating others.

The State Law Advisor and various parliamentary legal advisors have been attending all meetings since their advice was constantly being sought during discussions in the clause-by-clause debates.

A major issue to be debated was whether this Bill could be “trumped” by BEE legislation, a trumping proposal for BEE legislation to trump other legislation having being proposed in different forums. It appears that this is now the case.

The Bill has achieved a “B” version – in other words there being so many amendments that the entire Bill has had to be re-printed and tabled, this now being the version parliamentarians are working from.

Luthuli House query

The fact that the expression “subject to just and equitable compensation” was removed by the ANC from the long title of the “B” version of the Bill has led many Opposition members to suspect the motives of the ANC in supporting many of the amendments made during the closing passage of the Bill. This issue will probably be the first to be debated when Parliament re-opens.

Until now, Deputy Minister Cronin has been going to extreme measures to explain that the main purpose of the Bill is to assist Eskom in its drive to equip the utility with the tools to enable it to connect more grid lines to under supplied industrial areas. However, the recent change has re-established a lack of trust by opposition members, particularly those representing the farming lobby, that this is really the policy behind the Bill.

Previous articles on category subject
Expropriation Bill grinds on – ParlyReportSA
Expropriation Bill phrases could be re-drafted – ParlyReportSA
Zuma goes for traditional support with expropriation – ParlyReportSA

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