Expropriation of land without compensation
Despite concerns raised by investors, political opposition parties and key stakeholders, President Ramaphosa confirmed that government was ready to table an expropriation bill outlining the circumstances under which expropriation of land without compensation would be permissible. In December, just before the festive season, parliament published an invitation in the Government Gazette calling on the public to provide written submissions on the draft legislation by 31 January 2020.
Concerns have been raised that the new bill extends beyond the mandate of the ad hoc committee appointed to specify under what conditions land could be expropriated without compensation. The draft bill makes it clear that both land and “any improvements thereon” are subject to expropriation without compensation. Furthermore, in its current form, the draft bill also empowers parliament to implement additional laws by a simple 51% majority that set out specific circumstances where the amount of compensation is nil. In other words, it expands the circumstances under which no compensation could be paid. In a shock move, the ANC recently proposed to move the arbitration powers from the courts to the executive in terms of compensation to be paid. In our view, the bill in its current form and the proposal to give the executive more power are not business or investor friendly.