President Zuma refers Expropriation Bill back to Parliament

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma has referred the Expropriation Bill back to the National Assembly, the Presidency said on Friday.

The bill was referred back to the National Assembly in Parliament for reconsideration.

“The President referred the bill back to the National Assembly because in his view, Parliament failed to facilitate adequate public participation during the processing of the bill as required by the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa,” said the Presidency.

In Section 79 (1) of the Constitution, the President must assent to and sign a bill referred to him by the National Assembly or, if he has reservations about the constitutionality of the bill, refer it back to the National Assembly for reconsideration.

Government introduced the bill in order to make progressive land purchases to address inequalities caused by the apartheid regime without being prevented by the willing buyer, willing seller principle.

It was introduced to make provision for a more coherent process of handling the expropriation of land and speeding up land reform.

It seeks to align the Expropriation Act of 1975 with the Constitution and to provide a common framework to guide the processes and procedures for the expropriation of land by organs of State.

In July 2016, President Zuma requested the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) to advise him on the process followed by Parliament in passing the Expropriation Bill.

The bill was voted for adoption in the National Assembly in May 2016.

However, President Zuma had received objections against the signing of the bill into law from individuals and various organisations.

The petitions raised a number of procedural issues which include that procedures followed by the NCOP and some provincial legislatures in passing the bill were inconsistent with the Constitution.

Others include the failure by the NCOP to facilitate sufficient consultation with the public prior to the adoption of the bill, as well as the objection that the bill was not referred to the National House of Traditional Leaders as required. –