Parliament, Friday, 12 February 2021 – The Ad Hoc Committee to Initiate and Introduce Legislation Amending Section 25 of the Constitution today received a briefing on the report regarding the inputs made during public participation regarding the constitutional amendment that will see the expropriation of land without compensation reflected in the Constitution.
The committee was taken through the lengthy report that included the themes that arose from oral submissions made at the countrywide public hearings, as well as a summary of inputs made in written submissions to the committee on this matter. The committee was informed that the report was initially sent to Members during November last year and again on Wednesday after requests by some Members.
According to the report, specific proposals that emanated from the public participation process regarding the text of the Amendment Bill include that the acceleration of the pace of land redistribution is vitally important and this was agreed to by almost all the speakers. However, there were differences of opinion on the modalities, especially when expropriation of land without compensation was proposed.
Inputs on section 25 (7) of the Constitution that relate to restitution, also brought different perspectives. Some members of the public argued that it must be scrapped whilst others suggested that it must be kept in the interim because of outstanding claims, and their idea of restoration of land rights to the rightful owners. What appeared to be a point of commonality is that there is a need for a much wider programme for redistribution of land, targeting those who need it most.
The committee heard that the tenure regime discussions brought different perspectives. Some argued for state custodianship whilst others advocated for freehold titles, individual and communal. The clarification of the role of traditional leadership in land governance and administration was also highlighted.
The inclusion of nil compensation in the text was another subject of disagreement. Whilst some argued for unambiguous expropriation with no room for compensation, others felt that there are instances where expropriation might have to consider individual property rights secured through private investment in land.
According to the report, there was agreement in the public input around a need to speed up development of all legislation required in terms of section 25. Furthermore, it was suggested that there was a need for clarity about how the nil compensation will be determined. The role of courts in the process of expropriation was also a subject for discussion. Those in favour of expropriation without compensation believed that it should be an executive action, and the judiciary could adjudicate when called upon to do so.
Committee Chairperson, Dr Mathole Motshekga, at the onset made it clear that the purpose of the meeting was merely to receive a briefing on the outcomes of the different public participations processes. He said all Members would now have an opportunity to go back to their respective political parties to be briefed on the mandate of the position they should take when deliberating on this matter. “This would also give the committee the opportunity to find a South African solution to the land question and not one that just suits the people of South Africa, both black and white.”
According to the programme, the committee is likely to adopt the Bill on the constitutional amendments by 19 March 2021.
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE 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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