Parliament, Thursday, 12 March 2020 – A delegation of the d Hoc Committee to Initiate and Introduce Legislation Amending Section 25 of the Constitution in order to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation concluded with success the first leg of the public hearings in the Gauteng Province where the residents emphasised their discontent with the delays in amending Section 25 of the Constitution.

The leader of the delegation, Dr Mathole Motshekga, highlighted that the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) which conducted public hearings during the fifth parliamentary term, and the current Ad Hoc Committee processes are distinct and both require separate intensive public participation programmes.

Dr Motshekga said: “In 2018, the CRC focussed on evaluating the opinions of the South African citizens on the desirability of changing Section 25 of the Constitution. That mandate was accepted by the National Assembly hence the establishment of this Ad Hoc Committee which has as its focus on the content of the amendment and the wording to be used hence the Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill.”

Despite the concerns raised on the delay, a majority of contributions made called for the removal of Section 25 (3) and to make the state the custodian of all the natural resources including the land.

A majority of participants reemphasised the urgent need to amend Section 25 of the Constitution as a tool to achieve the objective of redressing the legacy of imbalance of the past and equal redistribution of land among all South Africans. Furthermore, a majority of participants underlined in their oral submissions that land redistribution should be accompanied by financial resources and programmes that are aimed at empowering the beneficiaries to utilise the land effectively as a tool to fight poverty.

Traditional leaders and healers also expressed their support for the amendment of Section 25 during the hearings, but called for the land to be under the custodianship of Traditional Leaders.

Although the majority of the people supported the Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill during the hearings, however, some participants expressed their opposition to the amendment, arguing that the current Constitution made provision for expropriation. Furthermore, they said, while land reform is necessary, but they argued that, data has shown that many of the people who claimed land through land reform programme preferred money over land in the end.

The delegation appreciated the spirit with which the people conducted themselves and the meaningful contributions they made during the public hearings. “The participants in Soshanguve showed maturity in dealing with an issue as emotive as the land. All participants were given the opportunity to share their views, regardless of which side they supported,” Dr Motshekga said.

The delegation will tomorrow hold public hearings in Westonaria Banquet Hall as part of the public hearings in the Gauteng Province.


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