Post-1994 laws under spotlight

2016-10-12 06:00
MEMBERS serving on the parliamentary panel assessing legislation passed by Parliament in the post-apartheid era. From the left are Bridgette Mabandla, Kgalema Mo­tlanthe and former Auditor General Terence Nombembe. Photo: Selloane Khalane

MEMBERS serving on the parliamentary panel assessing legislation passed by Parliament in the post-apartheid era. From the left are Bridgette Mabandla, Kgalema Mo­tlanthe and former Auditor General Terence Nombembe. Photo: Selloane Khalane

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POOR implementation of legislation, inequality, social cohesion and land distribution are some of the burning issues that have been raised among Free State residents. This was revealed by former President of South Africa Kgalema Motlanthe after an interactive public gathering held in Bloemfontein’s City Hall last Thursday (06/10). He led an independent high-level parliamentary panel assessing key legislation passed in Parliament’s post-apartheid era. The panel has been criss-crossing the country meeting residents and getting their views on key legislation passed by Parliament in the era of democracy.

During the public hearing, residents could not hide their frustration about how legislation on land redistribution was affecting them. The panel, established by the Speakers’ Forum, a structure of parliament and the provincial legislatures, was appointed this year in January to assess the effectiveness of key legislation passed during the democratic dispensation.

Chaired by Motlanthe, the panel is mandated to investigate the impact of legislation on four areas, namely: the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality; the creation and equitable distribution of wealth; land reform, restitution, redistribution and security of tenure; and nation building and social cohesion.

Motlanthe said people do not only complain, they also make suggestions on how their concerns can best be addressed in terms of legislation.

“This will be done with a view to identifying laws that require strengthening, review and/or amending. Poverty, unemployment, inequality and lack of opportunities are issues affecting many people,” he said.

One of the panellists, former Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Bridgette Mabandla, said although social cohesion in the country has been moving at a slow pace, progress has been made.

Presenting a report on growth, poverty and inequality in South Africa, Professor Olive Shisana, who is also a panel member, said inequality remained a huge challenge, as it has not improved between 2001 and 2011. “The Eastern Cape has shown high levels of economic vulnerability,” says Shisana.

The 17-member panel also includes the former Reserve Bank Governor Tito Mboweni, Judge Navi Pillay and the former Auditor General Terence Nombembe. The panel is expected to submit a draft report on its findings and recommendations to Parliament by May 2017, with the final report expected to be submitted around August of the same year.

The panel, consisting of a wide array of experts from various sectors of the economy, looks at laws that need to be reviewed, amended or changed to drive the country’s development agenda. The panel has 12 months during which to complete the work assessing key legislation passed by Parliament since 1994.

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