Parliament, Saturday, 7 March February 2020 – The Chairperson of the Ad Hoc Committee to Initiate and Introduce Legislation Amending Section 25 of the Constitution, Dr Mathole Motshekga, has noted the calls for the postponement of the public hearings on the amendment of the Constitution due to two confirmed cases of the COVID-19 (also known as the Coronavirus) in South Africa
Dr Motshekga said the committee received a correspondence from the Institute for Race Relations to postpone the hearings due to the initial confirmed case of the virus. Dr Motshekga said the committee further notes the assurance made yesterday by the Portfolio Committee on Health, during its oversight visit (6 March 2020) at the OR Tambo International Airport, that the committee is satisfied by the level of preparedness of the Department of Health, the sophistication of medical equipment, as well as the professionalism and competency of the port health staff in carrying out their responsibilities.
The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, has urged all South Africans to remain calm and place their trust in the healthcare authorities’ ability to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 in the country.
Furthermore, the Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhezi, has on several occasions assured the public that health authorities have measures in place to detect, manage and contain any cases of the Coronavirus.
Dr Motshekga said: “In light of the assurances and our confidence in our health authorities, the committee has no doubt that there are not sufficient reasons for panic and stopping the process that it is undertaking. We once more call on all South Africans not to be deterred from participating in the public hearings.”
The committee feels at this stage that it would not be in the best interest of South Africa to halt or postpone the public hearings by the Ad Hoc Committee to Initiate and Introduce Legislation Amending Section 25 of the Constitution.
The committee will continue to monitor the situation and its decision if the need arises.
“As public representatives we would never put the lives of our citizens at risk. Therefore at this stage, with the assurance provided above, we cannot agree to the request to postpone the hearings,” said Dr Motshekga.
“The outcry for land and the expropriation of land without compensation due to historical inequalities makes this task an urgent priority for the committee. During the previous parliamentary process, and what we have heard thus far as this committee, there is a great need for land,” added Dr Motshekga.
Today, the majority of participants during the public hearings that took place in Mafikeng in the North West Province, was in agreement that the land should be returned to its rightful owners.
The hearings will continue tomorrow.
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF AD HOC COMMITTEE TO INITIATE AND INTRODUCE LEGISLATION AMENDING SECTION 25 OF THE CONSTITUTION, DR MATHOLE MOTSHEKGA
For media enquiries or interviews, please contact the Committee’s Media Officer:
Name: Rajaa Azzakani (Ms)
Tel: 021 403 8437
Cell: 081 703 9542
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