Why land seizure is back in the news in South Africa

The ruling African National Congress decided in December 2017 that expropriation without compensation is one of the necessary mechanisms to accelerate land reform as long as it does not undermine the economy, agricultural production and food security. It wants to change section 25 of the constitution, which deals with property rights, but controls only 58% of the seats in parliament and needs two-thirds of the legislature to approve changes. The Economic Freedom Fighters, the third largest political party, which has 11% of the seats and also advocates expropriations, wanted the state to take custody of the entire country – a proposal that, according to the ANC, would go too far. Parliament has yet to vote on the changes. The legislature is currently working on a separate expropriation law that specifies when land can be confiscated. Only a parliamentary majority is required to pass it, but its application could be challenged for constitutional reasons.

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