Land expropriation: Lapsed ad hoc committee on section 25 was not in vain - chairperson

ANC MP Mathole Motshekga chairing the ad hoc committee that is amending Section 25 of the Constitution. (Jan Gerber, News24)
ANC MP Mathole Motshekga chairing the ad hoc committee that is amending Section 25 of the Constitution. (Jan Gerber, News24)
  • The National Assembly allowed the ad hoc committee to amend Section 25 of the Constitution to allow expropriation without compensation to lapse.
  • The committee could not continue its work, which involved public meetings, due to Covid-19.
  • The DA hopes the ANC "will also come to its senses and realise that this has never been a feasible idea".

The ad hoc committee to amend Section 25 of the Constitution to allow expropriation without compensation will not be in vain, its chairperson, Mathole Motshekga, said after the committee lapsed.

The committee has a deadline to finish its work by the end of May.

It was in the midst of an expansive public participation process when the coronavirus reached South Africa and social distancing measures were put in place to prevent its spread. Hence, the committee could not continue with public meetings, which generally attracted groups of more than 50 people.

READ | Parliament extends deadline to amend Section 25

Last week, the committee resolved to ask National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise to extend its mandate to allow it to complete its work.

However on Thursday, the National Assembly Programming Committee, chaired by Modise, unanimously resolved to allow the committee to lapse, and then to revive it when the situation regarding the Covid-19 pandemic allows.

The chairperson of the Ad Hoc Committee to Initiate and Introduce Legislation Amending Section 25 of the Constitution noted the deadline for the committee to complete its work was the end of May 2020.

Process

Motshekga thanked all South Africans who had thus far participated in the process.

"We received feedback from a wide variety of people with different viewpoints on this very emotive matter. Our public hearings were well attended and everyone who wanted to speak was allowed the opportunity, in the spirit of a participatory democracy," he said, according to a statement.

Motshekga added the committee's work would not be in vain, as it would continue where it had left off once it was revived by Parliament.

DA MP Annelie Lotriet, who served on the committee, welcomed its disbandment and expressed her hope "that the ANC will also come to its senses and realise that this has never been a feasible idea".

Objecting

"This whole process was based on an unconstitutional motion in the first place. The DA submitted a report objecting to the findings of the first Ad Hoc Parliamentary Committee on Land Expropriation," she said, according to a statement.

"The process was not finished and potentially compromised due to insufficient public participation and the findings of the committee being clearly predetermined. 

"The second committee's work was built upon the fraudulent and erroneous work done by the first committee."

Lotriet said the DA would submit parliamentary questions to ascertain how much Parliament spent "on what was essentially a mass ANC canvassing".

"As we've said before, the DA has always and will always oppose any abrogation of existing private property rights. Economic growth and development are not possible without property rights, and expropriation without compensation will only serve to bring that to a grinding halt."

In July last year, the National Assembly resolved to appoint the committee and give it the task to amend Section 25 of the Constitution. This after the Fifth Parliament's committee with the same task could not finish its work before Parliament rose for the 2019 elections.

The committee's initial deadline was 31 March.

The National Assembly extended this to 29 May in March.

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