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March : Comments on Expropriation Bill

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13 March, 2015

The Expropriation Bill is back and it is still unconstitutional

Attached is the 17th issue of @Liberty, the IRR's policy bulletin. This issue deals with the new Expropriation Bill of 2015 (the Bill), which was recently released by the minister of public works, Thulas Nxesi, and is due to be enacted into law this year.

The 2015 Bill is just as unconstitutional as its predecessors of 2008 and 2013. It still gives the State the power to take ownership and possession of property of virtually any kind by notice to the owner - and without a prior court order confirming the constitutional validity of the expropriation.

The Bill also puts great pressure on expropriated owners to accept whatever amounts of compensation the State might offer. Particularly telling is a clause saying owners will be deemed to have accepted these amounts unless they sue for more within two months. Given the high cost of litigation, most people will be reluctant to risk this.

The Government claims the 2015 Bill will cure the constitutional defects in the current Expropriation Act of 1975, but this is simply not true. Mr .Nxesi's Bill should thus be abandoned and replaced by a new amendment bill that is fully compliant with the Constitution. Such a bill can easily be crafted by amending the current Act in three key ways, as this issue of @Liberty explains.

Please also see IRR TV for more.

Download the PDF document : IRR @Liberty

Anthea Jeffery
Head of Policy Research