South African President Jacob Zuma on Friday referred the controversial Expropriation Bill back to the National Assembly for reconsideration.
The president made the move as in his view, Parliament failed to facilitate adequate public participation during the processing of the Bill as required by the Constitution, his office said.
According to 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.
In May last year, Parliament approved the bill that would allow the government to make compulsory purchases of land to speed up redressing racial disparities.
The bill defines the “administratively just process” that any expropriating authority must follow.
But critics argue the bill is unconstitutional and has procedural irregularities that characterized its passing.
Some economists and farming groups have also said the bill could hit investment and production at a time when South Africa is emerging from a major drought.
But the government has said the redistribution process needs to be accelerated to rectify past wrongs and provide opportunities to the previously excluded. It also said it would stick to the law and not follow the example of Zimbabwe, where farm seizures have destroyed the economy.
The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) has been petitioning Zuma to send the bill back to Parliament.
The DA maintains that the chief concern with this bill is that it, in its current incarnation, violates the Constitution with specific reference to the right to property and the right not to be evicted without an order of the court as distilled the Constitution.
Additionally, the bill was met with fatal procedural errors as it was not passed in a manner consistent with the Constitution, the DA maintains. Enditem