Parliament, Tuesday 30 June – The National Assembly has, during its hybrid plenary today, agreed to re-establish the multiparty Ad Hoc Committee to Initiate and Introduce Legislation Amending Section 25 of the Constitution.

The Committee was first established by the Sixth Democratic Parliament on 25 July 2019 to clarify parts of the Constitution that speak to, amongst others, the expropriation of land without compensation as a legitimate option for land reform to address the historic arbitrary land dispossession of the majority of South Africans.

The outbreak of the Coronavirus affected the Committee's programme, and its term expired on 29 May 2020 before it could complete its mandate.

The NA agreed to re-establish the Committee with the same composition and powers as its predecessor and instructed it to incorporate in its work the proceedings and all the work of the previous committee until its term expired.

The Committee has been given until 31 December 2020 as the deadline by which to report back to the House.

During today’s plenary the NA also resolved, notwithstanding Rule 27 on the election of presiding officers, to elect Mr Qubudile Richard Dyantyi and Ms Tandi Mahambehlala as temporary presiding officers in the chamber during hybrid sittings of the House for the duration of the 2020 annual session. Their appointment was necessitated by the need to ensure the continuous presence of a presiding officer in the physical chamber, in Cape Town, during the hybrid sittings of the House.

The House also approved a notice, dated 26 March 2020, from the President requesting the NA to consider the proposed determination of the salaries and allowances payable to the Commissioners of the South African Human Rights Commission and the Public Protector.

Section 219 (5) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, provides that national legislation must establish frameworks for determining the salaries, allowances and benefits of judges, the Public Protector, the Auditor -General, and members of any commission provided for in the Constitution, including the broadcasting authority referred to section 192.

In the Notice, the President proposed a salary-freeze for office-bearers earning R1,5 million and above; a 2% adjustment for office-bearers earning between R1 million and R1,5 million; and a 4,5% adjustment for office-bearers earning below R1 million as of 1 April 2019.

The matter was referred to the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services which recommended that the NA approve the Notices on condition that the President amends the commencement date to 1 July 2019 to comply with section 2(B) of the Public Protector Act and section 9(4) of the South African Human Rights Commission Act as already more than a year has passed without the Notices having been published in the Gazette.

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