land bill furore

Nkosana Lekotjolo

Nkosana Lekotjolo

The gloves came off over the constitutionality of the controversial Expropriation Bill during the second and last public hearing of parliament's public works committee in Cape Town on Wednesday.

Cosatu and the Land Access Movement of South Africa (Lamosa) came out in full support of the bill, which aims to grab all the properties from rich white people that the government might consider to be in the public interest.

The response comes shortly after AgriSA, Forestry SA and AfriForum described the bill as unconstitutional.

Cosatu's parliamentary spokesman Mfanafuthi Tsela said that, if passed, the bill would be a shift from the willing buyer, willing seller "stumbling" block which has hampered the government's efforts to give the land to black people.

"The willing buyer, willing seller principle in the current land redistribution legislation has for so long given unscrupulous farmers the advantage to inflate their prices," said Tsela.

Lamosa's director Constance Mogale said the government would fail to meet the presidential 2008 land restitution deadline.

The committee's chairman Thandi Toblas-Pokolo has maintained that the bill is constitutional.