On October 21, the Minister of Public Works published an invitation for interested parties to comment on the draft Expropriation Bill, 2020. NJ has considered the draft Bill and made a submission to the Minister in accordance with the public consultation process. The Expropriation Bill is a welcome affirmation of the state’s role in unlocking land for developmental and redistributive purposes. However, Natural Justice considers that more could be done to ensure that the Bill is situated within a more thoroughly worked-out programme of land and agrarian reform that has appropriate regard to the wealth of already existing regulatory instruments and opportunities to use expropriation to facilitate pro-poor land reform.
Natural Justice’s primary concerns relate to the exclusion of individuals from being able to initiate the expropriation process; limitations on the ability to expropriate state-owned land; the location of the draft Bill in relation to existing legislation; the expropriation of state-subsidised property for nil compensation; the limitations on the ability for citizens to monitor the implementation of the expropriation process; and the definition of “purely speculative purposes”.