Expropriation without compensation back on the agenda
Covid-19 meant that discussions over amending the constitution ground to a halt.
(Photo by RODGER BOSCH / POOL / AFP)
The National Assembly will again establish an ad hoc committee to amend Section 25 of the Constitution to allow expropriation without compensation.
Two weeks ago, all parties at the National Assembly agreed to let the ad hoc committee amending Section 25 lapse.
The committee had 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.
At last week’s meeting of the programming committee, opposition MPs said they were surprised when the ANC proposed re-establishing the committee at the previous day’s meeting of the Chief Whips’ Forum.
The ANC proposed that the committee is given the deadline of the end of October to complete its work.
The FF Plus and DA – who oppose an amendment – said the committee must not be established yet given the uncertainty around the Covid-19 pandemic.
The ANC, backed by the EFF – who both want an amendment, albeit in different forms – said the committee’s deadline could always be extended.
Speaker of the National Assembly Thandi Modise said she will discuss the matter with her deputy Lechesa Tsenoli.
At Thursday’s meeting of the National Assembly Programming Committee, Tsenoli said the committee will be established, but its deadline will be determined later, but their view is that it must complete its work by the end of the year.
He said the committee would have to explore innovative ways to conduct its public participation.
DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone asked that the decision to re-establish the committee be put in writing to parties.
As the committee has lapsed, it will have to be re-established by a motion of the National Assembly.
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.