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The Ad Hoc Committee to Initiate and Introduce Legislation Amending Section 25 of the Constitution officially adopted the Constitution 18th Amendment Bill on Friday, 3 September 2021. This will see the expropriation of land without compensation take flight in South Africa.
Committee Chairperson Dr Mathole Motshekga said the Bill in its entirety and the memorandum on the objects of the Bill were endorsed by the majority of committee members. Noting, there were three votes against the Bill and no abstentions.
The purpose of the Bill is to amend section 25 of the Constitution to provide that where land is expropriated for land reform, the amount of compensation payable may be nil.
To clarify, the nil compensation is, according to the government, a legitimate option to address the historical wrongs caused by the “arbitrary dispossession of land” and ensure equitable access to land.
Additionally, the Bill will further empower the majority of South Africans to be productive participants in ownership, food security and agricultural reform programmes.
Dr Motshekga said the Bill is the product of extensive public engagements, spanning the work of two Parliaments and three committees. “It is a historic day as we adopt this Constitution 18th Amendment Bill, which is the product of engagement by all political parties inside the committee and through bi-laterals involving political principals and parties.”
Continuing, he stated, “I want to commend all Members because you were always alive to the character of our constitutional democracy, which is both representative and participatory. Today we can proudly say we are adopting a Bill that adheres to those principals. We have carefully listened to the people of this country and have adopted a Bill that will be to the benefit of all South Africans, irrespective of colour.”
The committee is expected to meet on Wednesday, 8 September 2021, to vote on the report on the Bill, after which it will be sent to the National Assembly for consideration.
Shortly after the decision was made, Dr Annelie Lotriet – Chairperson of the DA Parliamentary Caucus issued a statement, stating that if anything, the committee vote was a culmination of three wasted years, in which Parliament was made to process a Bill; where alarms have been raised about its grave impact on the economy, the rule of law and food security. She emphasised, “The ANC knew about these dangers, hence their steadfast refusal to allow for an Economic Impact Assessment to be conducted.”
She further pointed out that sending the Bill to the National Assembly is a mere formality, as the ANC will not have the two-thirds majority required by the Constitution to ensure that it is passed. “Its erstwhile allies, the EFF, have long since abandoned ship having missed the last 4 sessions of the Section 25 Ad-Hoc Committee.”
As the Bill now prepares to go before the National Assembly, Dr Lotriet stresses, the DA is ready to stand against the disastrous piece of legislation. “We have long argued against the need to amend Section 25 of the Constitution, in its current form, already has enough provisions to enable a just and equitable land reform process.”
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