News / South Africa

Makhosandile Zulu
3 minute read
26 Jun 2018
1:10 pm

Nationwide public hearings on land kick off in Northern Cape

Makhosandile Zulu

The parliamentary committee urges members of the public to take part in the hearings.

The Constitutional Review Committee kicked off its nationwide tour of public hearings on the possible review of section 25 of the Constitution to make it possible for the state to expropriate land without compensation.

The committee’s first stop is Springbok, in the Northern Cape, where earlier this morning queues of the area’s residents and surrounding areas streamed into the venue for the public hearings on the possible amendment to section 25, which deals with property rights.

Members of the public are urged to take part in the hearings to share their views on the matter.

As recent as June 15, the committee was taking written public submissions on the review of section 25 and other sections where necessary to make it possible for the state to expropriate land in the public interest without compensation.

The closing date for the written submissions had been extended from May 31 to June 15.

In a statement, the committee said by June 15, it had received more than 700 000 electronic and hard copy submissions from the public.

“Due to the extraordinarily huge volume of submissions, and the importance of ensuring that each and every submission from the public is given deserved consideration by Parliament, the committee is in the process of augmenting its internal capacity by procuring a service provider to assist with analysing the submissions. One of the requirements for the service provider will be that a receipt of submissions is acknowledged mainly through emails, SMSes and any other ways possible. Proof of this will be kept for further reference. The committee resolved that only clearly identifiable submissions that can be traced back to a name, cellphone number or email address, will be considered,” the committee said in a statement.

The committee added if the author of the submission could not be identified, then that submission would not be accepted as legitimate.

“A final draft of the report is expected to be submitted by 3 August, by which date the committee would have concluded its public hearings in the provinces and heading back to Parliament to continue its work,” the statement reads.

The committee said it would form two teams to conduct the public hearings and cover all the provinces within the stipulated period. These teams, which are meant to work concurrently in different areas, are scheduled to conclude the public hearings by August 4, the committee added.

“Once the committee returns to Parliament in Cape Town, public hearings are expected to be held over 10 days, until 17 August 2018, with individuals or organisations who have made written submissions and have, in addition, requested to do oral submissions. During September, the committee will deliberate on its draft report before tabling its recommendations to the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces,” the committee said.

The public hearings will be carried live on Parliament TV, either through delayed or live broadcasts.

Click here for the full programme of the public hearings.

Earlier this year, the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces resolved to mandate the Joint Constitutional Review Committee to review section 25 of the Constitution.

The section could be amended after parliament voted in favour of an Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) motion on land expropriation without compensation.

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