Local attorney and author Matome Chidi, having realised the contentious nature of land expropriation without compensation, has written two books on the vastly discussed topic.
Chidi, born and bred in Botlokwa, is an admitted attorney and holds a Bachelor of Law (LLB) degree from the University of Limpopo and works for Chidi Attorneys.
His first book, released in 2018, is titled ‘Landlessness: A Constitutional Sin’ while the second is titled ‘Land Reform: Nations Commitment and Constitutional Mandate’.
His involvement with the topic of land and the various social, economic and political aspects of it inspired the two titles. He contributes to debates on equality and land reform. He believes that sufficient land access is the basis for prosperity hence the need to contribute from that perspective. His work on policy issues is expressed in his books. He has participated in the Constitutional Review Committee and also takes part in Parliament’s Ad Hoc Committee on the amendment of Section 25 of the Constitution. As an attorney and an author, he participates as invited from time to time in Parliament.
Chidi has a monthly feature on one of the radio stations in the city where he discusses matters of land and other related matters faced by communities. He also writes opinion pieces on the topic. In the first book Chidi argued that expropriation without compensation may be achieved without amending the Constitution. This follows a question posed by Polokwane Observer regarding Section 25 (8) permitting the State to develop a law for the exclusion of compensation.
Chidi, however, understands that the implicit ‘expropriation without compensation’ in the Constitution may be made explicit as Parliament resolved. He stated that Section 25 should not be difficult to interpret by the majority in this country. The majority were not trained on matters of law, he stressed.
The 2018 Expropriation Bill led him to writing the second book. Upon studying the Bill, Chidi emphasised that he did not understand why such a bill was drafted and published. He reckons that if the law was implemented, there would not be land-inequality.
He indicated that the preamble to the Constitution records the commitment to uplift people’s quality of life and to free persons’ potential. Chidi added that in his book he shows that the nation’s commitment to land as recorded in section 25 (4) shows the depth of the commitment. According to him, land reform is a constitutional mandate. He reiterated in his book that the law demands that all must transform and that the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) Act demands economic unity.
Chidi joined by the Black Management Forum’s Polokwane Branch are expected to officially launch his second book on 7 March at Library Gardens at 13:30.
Story and photo: ENDY SENYATSI