The National Council of Provinces embraced the Joint Constitutional Review Committee’s report suggesting that the Constitution ought to be altered to permit confiscation without pay.
Eight of the nine provinces voted in favour of adoption, with the DA-governed Western Cape the only province voting against it.
This follows the National Assembly adopting the report on Tuesday. This means the matter is now a duly adopted resolution of Parliament and it paves the way for an ad hoc committee to start drafting an amendment to section 25 of the Constitution.
A motion to this effect will be brought by ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu in the National Assembly on Thursday.
During the debate on the report, Rural Development and Land Reform Deputy Minister Mcebisi Skwatsha admitted that government has been “slow and laboured” in implementing its land reform policy.
He said President Cyril Ramaphosa was “spot on” when he called the land dispossession of black people South Africa’s “original sin”.
“Anyone saying land was not taken by force, is trying to mislead us,” he said in apparent reference to AfriForum’s assertion to this effect.
“Land represents the soul and dignity of a people.”
DA to seek review
He remarked on the highly unequal pattern of land ownership in the country and said this has been exacerbated by an increase in foreign-owned land.
Speakers from the DA and IFP spoke against an amendment, while the speakers from the ANC, EFF and UDM supported it.
The DA said on Tuesday that it would bring a court application to have the report reviewed and set aside once the parliamentary process is concluded. They say the committee’s work was procedurally flawed.
AfriForum brought a similar application. The first part of its case – an urgent application to interdict Tuesday’s proceedings in the National Assembly – was dismissed on Friday, but the second part – asking for the report to be reviewed and set aside – will be heard at a later date.
Farmer’s union Agri SA has also indicated that it will “continue to pursue all credible avenues to protect the interests of farmers and farming communities, including challenging an amendment of section 25 in court”.
It said in a statement that Tuesday’s decision by the National Assembly was “not the final step in the process, and there is time and legal remedies remaining to halt an amendment”.
The National Assembly will debate a motion on Thursday to task a committee to draft the wording of the amendment.