Posted on January 30, 2020

Land Expropriation: Public Gets One More Month to Comment, WhatsApp Number to Be Set Up

Jan Gerber, News24, January 30, 2020

You now have a month longer to have your say on the draft bill to amend the Constitution to allow for expropriation without compensation.

On Thursday, the ad hoc committee amending Section 25 of the Constitution resolved to extend the deadline for written submissions from the public on its bill until February 29. The initial deadline was Friday.

This against the backdrop of an outcry from opponents of expropriation without compensation after the ANC resolved at its recent NEC meeting that it will propose that the minister (Thoko Didiza) will decide whether land will be expropriated without compensation rather than the court. The amendment bill in its current form gives this responsibility to the court.

Committee chairperson Mathole Motshekga said at the committee’s meeting on December 3, they agreed the MPs serving on the committee would seek a mandate from their parties on the draft amendment bill, while the bill would be gazetted to kickstart the public participation process.

‘Yes, we have spoken’

He said there seemed to be a misunderstanding that the ANC’s position was that of Parliament.

“Nobody should think that this committee is giving preferential treatment to any party,” Motshekga added. “All parties must make proposals.”

He said all proposals would be given equal weight and would be assessed on its merits.

“Nobody should fear that we are going to overlook what people are saying. The outcome of this process must be that the people of South Africa – both black and white – can say: ‘Yes, we have spoken’.”

Motshekga said he had received requests to extend the deadline for public submissions but denied them as he himself was not the committee and it should be a decision of the whole committee.

These requests arose mainly because the bill was gazetted and the major period for public participation was at a time when most South Africans were on holiday.

All parties supported an extension until the end of February. EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi suggested the committee should also make it possible to submit submissions via WhatsApp to allow young people to have their voices heard. The committee also agreed to this idea. A WhatsApp number will be made available as soon as it is set up.

Public hearings will take place in all provinces, predominantly from Fridays to Sundays. The committee will split into two groups. The full committee will also hold public hearings in Parliament.

The programme will be publicised once the committee adopts it. Written submissions must be received by no later than February 29, 2020. Submissions and enquiries must be directed to Mr V Ramaano, 3rd Floor, 90 Plein Street, Cape Town, 8000 or emailed to [email protected]

Copies of the bill can be obtained from Mr V Ramaano at 021 403 3820 or 083 709 8427 or can be found here.