'Amend or don't amend' - quips exchanged as MPs vote for land expropriation

2018-11-15 15:35

After a morning of quips over who would "move, then shake" the proposal, the recommendation to amend the Constitution to allow expropriation of land was adopted by the Joint Constitutional Review Committee in Parliament.

"I would have thought we would have a simple one-liner: Amend or don't amend," ANC committee member Vincent Smith said on Thursday, when he was faced with the document that was eventually adopted.

After roadshows, heated debate, and arguments over whether written submissions had been considered, 12 MPs voted in favour of adopting the recommendations on the amendment, and four voted against it.

READ Land: Committee adopts report recommending expropriation without compensation

This was after the DA's counter-proposal that the Constitution not be amended, because it already allows land restitution and tenure security, was voted down.

"Dismiss and dump it into the dustbin of history," said EFF leader Julius Malema.

"We are here, and the question is: Should we amend section 25 or not?"

Owned by the State

The EFF's position is that the land must be owned by the State, but it has pointed out that the current process means that the Constitution should say land should be expropriated without compensation.

"The second process is how," said Malema.

The EFF pointed out that they should not now "fall into the trap" of not following processes.

They said there now has to be a bill that allows the amendment of section 25 of the Constitution, and it wants the whole process to be completed before the end of the fifth Parliament's term.

Co-chairperson Stan Maila rejected the submission from Freedom Front Plus MP Corné Mulder that the procedure in adopting the recommendation was wrong because the members had not had time to discuss the latest version.

Malema said: "No, no, no! A person is not just going to wake up in the morning and say the procedure is fundamentally flawed."

Eventually when the chairpersons asked who was going to move that the bill be proposed, DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach quipped: "And who is going to be the shaker?"

The parties opposed to an amendment were the DA, Cope, ACDP, IFP and FF Plus.

Parties that supported it were the ANC, EFF, NFP and UDM.

'Massive project'

The committee thanked the members, and particularly the public, for all the work that went into getting so far.

"This has truly been a massive project; we have seen people queuing for long periods just to ensure they have a say on the matter.

"However, this is a reminder to all of us on the importance of the issue of land in South Africa. The committee is truly humbled."

He said the process was not compromised, as alleged by some parties.

Written submissions claimed to have been kept away from the committee, were printed out and bound and were viewed by the media.

He reminded everybody that it was just a first step.

"Remember this is not a bill."

The report's adoption is just the first of many steps in the process before it becomes law.

There will be a debate on the report in the National Assembly in two weeks' time.

Depending on the resolution, it will be referred to a portfolio committee or an ad-hoc committee.

That committee would then convene and a programme would be issued for the public to note.

The committee must then draft a bill on the proposed amendment and it must be issued for 30 days for public comment.

After the 30 days, the committee reconvenes and sets out a proper programme.

The EFF left the committee room singing.

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Read more on:    parliament 2018  |  land expropriation  |  politics  |  land
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