National Assembly passes Expropriation Bill without addressing the serious flaws in the bill for the agri sector and economy

National Assembly passes Expropriation Bill without addressing the serious flaws in the bill for the agri sector and economy Yesterday evening, on 28 September, the National Assembly (NA) debated and passed the Expropriation Bill as referred to it by the Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure. Unfortunately, the NA did not use the debate to engage with the serious flaws which remain in the bill and missed this opportunity to mitigate its likely harm to the agricultural sector and wider economy should the Bill in its current form be adopted.

The Bill that was passed by the NA continues to allow for the possibility of nil compensation for expropriation in terms of clause 12(3) and (4). In its initial submissions to government on the Bill, Agri SA commissioned two studies to inform and support its commentary. Our position remains that the inclusion of the nil compensation clause will undermine access to capital and capital formation for the sector and economy. Examples from similar land policies implemented in countries like Zimbabwe and Venezuela illustrate the potentially disastrous impact that these policies can have on agriculture, the broader economy, and society.

Another significant issue with the Bill is how it defines expropriation itself, which Agri SA believes is too narrow. This essentially opens the door to a form of indirect expropriation through the limitation of property rights without compensation being payable.

These issues will have a negative impact on our shared national commitment to building a more inclusive agricultural sector. It will weaken the protections afforded to private property and this could see an exodus of capital from the agricultural sector and the broader economy. The anticipated loss of jobs and investment will impact both emerging and established farmers alike.

As the Bill now makes its way to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), we call on legislators in that body to take into account the Bill’s apparent flaws and its likely devastating economic impact. A further assault on the certainty of property rights will only add to a climate that deters investment in, amongst others, the agriculture sector which will undermine the country and region’s food security.

Property rights are the cornerstone of economic development and Agri SA will use every tool at its disposal to ensure their continued protection under the Constitution of South Africa.

Agri SA appeals to government to work with the private sector to craft a sustainable, constitutionally valid programme for inclusive economic growth in South Africa that includes private sector partnerships. Agri SA is well placed and willing to assist government to improve the outcomes of land reform under the current framework.


Christo van der Rheede Agri SA, Executive Director (C) 083 380 3492

Willem De Chavonnes Vrugt Agri SA, Chair CoE: Land (C) 082 946 2303

Andrea Campher Agri SA, Manager: Risk and Disaster Unit (C) 079 887 217