DA calls on Speaker to suspend Expropriation Bill

2008-06-24 00:00

Cape Town — The DA has called on National Assembly speaker, Baleka Mbete, to immediately suspend the legislative process relating to the controversial Expropriation Bill.

The DA request follows parliamentary legal opinion that the bill is unconstitutional.

DA Land Affairs spokesman Maans Nel said yesterday he was due to write to Mbete to urgently call her attention to a number of concerns relating to the bill and to request the suspension of the legislative process pending the redrafting of the bill in order to bring it in line with the Constitution.

Nel said the DA also wants Mbete to explain why Parliament is currently processing the bill, when Parliament’s own legal advisers have submitted a formal legal opinion stating that the legislation is unconstitutional.

“Even more disturbing is the fact that this legal opinion has neither been noted nor discussed in the Public Works Committee, which is processing the bill,” Nel said.

The bill is aimed at replacing the Expropriation Act of 1975.

The new law would allow the Land Affairs minister to decide on the amount of compensation to be paid to individuals from whom land is expropriated.

The civil rights group, AfriForum and other civil society organisations, as well as political parties, claim that the bill undermines the provisions of the Constitution regarding, amongst others, property rights, the right to access to the courts, the right to just administrative action, as well as the authority and independence of the courts.

“By suspending the legislative process and requesting that the Bill be redrafted, the Speaker will … ensure that Parliament lives up to its Constitutional obligations …” Nel said.

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