The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) on Monday asked the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Gugile Nkwinti, to petition the Constitutional Court and seek clarity on the interpretations of Section 25 of the Constitution in a bid to allow expropriation of land without compensation.
In an open letter, ANCYL secretary-general, Njabulo Nzuza, said the league was concerned by a few weaknesses that could be detrimental to the sustainability of a progressive land reform project and the Land Expropriation Amendment Bill.
“Whereas we commend the progress made by you and your department in giving back land to dispossessed communities, we have noted a structural weakness to the process,” Nzuza said.
“There is a serious threat to land reform arising from the tendency of government to purchase land on behalf of poor communities without an accompanying empowerment programme around technical and managerial skilling for effective use of this land.”
Nzuza said the ‘market value’ component of Section 25 of the Constitution as the only provision to be accounted for when expropriating land was commonly exaggerated.
“This serves to lock the state into an expensive acquisition trap; which in turn undermines the public interest by disempowering the state from allocating further funds for development of that acquired land,” Nzuza said.
“In view of the foregoing, our view as the ANCYL is that you and your department should initiate a petitioning of the Constitutional Court, for which we will mobilize society around and particularly young people.
“This petition should initiate a process to assess the extent to which interpretations of Section 25 of the Constitution can allow expropriation of land without compensation; thus allowing the state to instead utilize the bulk of its funding to develop capabilities amongst beneficiary communities.”
Nzuza said the ANCYL was particularly interested on this matter because it would afford young African people access to land ownership as a means of changing the unjust pattern of material racist exclusion.
“This will allow them to benefit from the land value-chain that involves, among other things, dividends in farming, tourism, mining and cultural use-values,” Nzuza said.
Meanwhile, the ANCYL had earlier said it would be initiating a series of open letters to Cabinet members on the subject of the implementation of ANC policy resolutions.
Last week, the ANCYL began its open letters campaign with a strongly-worded missive to Higher Education Minister, Blade Nzimande, calling him to not hike university fees for next year.