On 28 February 2021, SERI made a written submission to the Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure on the Expropriation Bill. Prior to this submission, SERI engaged with the previous version of the Expropriation Bill and made a submission in February 2019. SERI stands by its original submission and wishes to further supplement it with additional emphases on some key aspects in this submission.
SERI’s submission welcomes the Expropriation Bill as an affirmation of the state’s role in unlocking land for developmental and redistributive purposes. The submission focuses on four components that we believe will be important in fulfilling the ambitions set by government for the bill. These are:
Much of SERI’s work involves the right to access adequate housing enshrined in section 26 of the Constitution. In this respect, there is considerable overlap between SERI’s work in our ‘Securing a Home’ thematic area and the redistributive purpose of the draft Bill. Over the last ten years SERI has been involved in legal, research and advocacy work around evictions, relocations, affordable rental housing, allocation of state-subsidised houses, and informal settlement upgrading. We have published several resource guides, research reports and working papers, including commissioned papers.
SERI holds that expropriation should be employed as a significant mechanism in urban land redistribution. The voices of the urban landless should be heard on what land should be expropriated and when, either directly or indirectly. Ordinary South Africans and communities, who have not been able to gain access to land on an equitable basis, should be able to approach the Minister of Public Works to consider expropriation. Alternatively, municipalities should be able to bring requests from communities to the Ministry for consideration.