Parliament, Friday, 19 February 2021 – The Ad Hoc Committee to Initiate and Introduce Legislation Amending Section 25 of the Constitution today started engaging with the report on public participation pertaining to the expropriation of land without compensation.

Members were given an opportunity today to comment on the report, which was presented to them a week ago. The report was initially sent to them electronically in November last year for perusal.

As some Members today tried to indicate that the process to draft the constitutional amendment was being rushed, committee Chairperson, Dr Mathole Motshekga, reminded Members how the committee had several times acceded to requests for extensions to deadlines in order to ensure that the committee does its work thoroughly. “It would therefore be unfair to say that the committee is rushing the Bill on the amendment.

“We want to strive for consensus or at least sufficient consensus. All parties that put South Africans first, will give their full attention to the land question.”

Regarding concerns by some members that they would not have sufficient time to read through the written submissions, Dr Motshekga reminded Members that it does not mean they have to finish reading all the submissions by next week’s meeting. “Members can continue reading whilst the work of the committee is going on. I appeal to all to put in extra hours to read the submissions. We cannot give Members six months to read it. That would just not be practical.”

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.

The report states that the tenure regime discussions brought different perspectives. Some argued for state custodianship whilst others advocated for freehold titles, individual and communal. 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 the development of all legislation required in terms of section 25.

The committee is expected 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.

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