Parliament, Saturday, 4 August 2018 – The Joint Constitutional Review Committee today concluded its provincial public hearings into section 25 of the Constitution in the Cape Metropolitan Area with one of the biggest gatherings to date.
The Committee held a total 34 hearings in all nine provinces of South Africa listening carefully to the diverse views expressed by citizens throughout the country. Co-Chairperson of the committee, Mr Vincent Smith, said at the start of the meeting, he is confident that the committee has succeeded in its task of listening to the people. “I am confident that this was a democratic process. Everyone who wanted an opportunity to speak, was allowed to speak. The committee allowed for democracy to prevail.” He cautioned the crowd to ensure that they give fellow citizens an opportunity to speak, even when they disagree with what is being said as this could have a negative influence on the process.
Hundreds of members of the public attended today’s hearings at the Friend of God Church in Goodwood. The church has a capacity of 1 500. Long queues were still seen outside during the hearing and as people finished submissions, they made space for others to come into the venue.
“Even though we had a packed hall with emotions running high, the people of South Africa were orderly and tolerant,” said Mr Lewis Nzimande, Co-Chairperson of the committee. “The committee is proud of the tolerance showed by our people, even when they completely disagreed with speakers. This speaks directly to how the whole South Africa generally operates – we allow for all views.”
Mr Smith said following the hearings, the committee will assess the hundreds of thousands of written submissions it received after which it will invite those submitters, who indicated that they wanted to make oral presentations, to hearings at parliament. “This process will take a bit of time as we had a substantial response to this matter. We want to ensure that we do a thorough job,” said Mr Smith.
Mr Nzimande elaborated to remind South Africans that once the process had been concluded, the multi-party committee will deliberate extensively on this matter before it reports to both Houses of Parliament.
The committee was instructed by the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces to ascertain whether a review of section 25 of the Constitution and other clauses are necessary, to make it possible for the state to expropriate land in the public interest without compensation, and propose the necessary constitutional amendments where necessary.
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CO-CHAIRPERSONS OF THE JOINT CONSTITUTIONAL REVIEW COMMITTEE, MR VINCENT SMITH AND MR LEWIS NZIMANDE.
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