Expropriation Bill Sent to NHTL for Comment

Parliament

The Expropriation Bill has been sent to the National House of Traditional Leaders (NHTL) for comment.

The bill was returned to parliament by president Zuma earlier this year over reservations about its constitutionality.

The reservations focused on a lack of sufficient public participation during the processing of the bill.

Parliament passed the bill and sent it for assent in May 2016.

The draft bill was published for comment in 2013.

Cabinet had approved the bill in March 2013 to be released for comment.

At the time, cabinet declared that the proposed legislation will aim to “achieve certainty and give guidance to those involved in or subject to, an expropriation process, both for the state, as well as a private individual”.

The bill intends repealing the current Expropriation Act of 1975.

A review of the current act was undertaken to bring about consistency with the “spirit and provisions” of the constitution.

The proposed legislation will make it clear that property can be expropriated in the public interest.

"Expropriation in the public interest, for instance, provides government with a tool to achieve its commitment to land reform, and to reforms to bring about equitable access to all South Africa's natural resources".

The bill calls for any disputes around compensation to be settled in a relevant court.

The public works department will be expected to set up an expropriation register.

Speaking in 2012, the public works minister indicated that the purpose of the bill is to align the existing statute with the Constitution in order to provide a common framework to guide processes and procedures for the expropriation of property by all organs of state.

An Expropriation Bill published in April 2008 was withdrawn in September of the same year.

Speaking during the budget debate, the minister drew attention to the recognition that the proposed legislation gave to unregistered rights.

“The Expropriation Bill introduces certain measures that differ significantly from the 1975 Act. Noteworthy is the recognition and compensation of unregistered rights in property in all expropriations”.

The bill also embodies the constitutional principle of just administrative action.

The bill will put uniform expropriation procedures in place for all expropriating authorities at the three levels of government.

The proposed legislation sets down the powers of the public works minister to expropriate property, the procedures for the investigation and valuation of property, how the intention to expropriate is conveyed and how expropriation is to transpire, how compensation is to be paid and the role of the court in settling disputes.

In July 2016, president Zuma asked parliament to update him on the parliamentary process followed to pass the bill.

The NHTL have 30 days to comment on the bill.

Sabinet Cape Town Office

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