Parliament, Tuesday 15 September 2020 – Parliament is opposing AfriForum’s application to the High Court Western Cape Division (Cape Town), asking the court to declare Parliament’s adoption of the Joint Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) report on the possible review of Section 25 of the Constitution constitutionally invalid.
Parliament’s basis for opposing this application – scheduled for hearing tomorrow – is that the relief AfriForum is seeking has become moot. This is because the process of potentially amending Section 25 of the Constitution has moved far beyond the factual background underlying AfriForum’s application and makes the relief it seeks of no consequence.
Parliament has already considered and adopted the CRC Report. This happened in December 2018, after the court dismissed AfriForum’s application for an interim interdict to stop Parliament from adopting the Report. The court affirmed Parliament’s constitutional right to independently determine and conduct its business, without undue interference.
Subsequent to the adoption of the CRC Report, Parliament has established an Ad Hoc Committee to Initiate and Introduce Legislation Amending Section 25 of the Constitution. As it is now public knowledge, the Ad Hoc Committee has since considered the matter and, among other things, published a draft Bill. The Bill aims to amend the Constitution to provide that, where land and improvements on it are expropriated for purposes of land reform, compensation payable may be nil.
In this context, it is Parliament’s contention that this entire application has now become moot.
Members of the media wishing to follow tomorrow’s High Court proceedings should send their details to Mr. Mlindi Mpindi on firstname.lastname@example.org for inclusion in the Parliamentary Communication Services WhatsApp group, for a link. The media must forward their requests using their official email addresses (no private emails).
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA
And who is Mark Oppenheimer?
AfriForum today submitted commentary by hand at Parliament against the Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill (Section 25 amendment). This bill intends on amending Section 25 of the Constitution (which deals with property rights) to enable the expropriation of private property without compensation. The closing date for the submission of commentary is 31 January 2020.
AfriForum’s commentary was drafted by Adv. Mark Oppenheimer, an expert in constitutional law and member of the Johannesburg Bar Council.
In support of .. without compensation
Parliament, Saturday, 7 November 2020 – The Ad Hoc Committee to Initiate and Introduce Legislation Amending Section 25 of the Constitution today finalised its countrywide public hearings which will pave the way for the expropriation of land without compensation.
The public hearings came to a finalisation in Polokwane, Limpopo, with a packed hall, strictly in terms of Covid-19 Level 1 regulations. The committee earlier this week resolved to return to Polokwane to hold the public hearing it had to cancel two weeks ago due to disruptions caused by certain groupings. Today, however, all participants sat orderly in the hall waiting for an opportunity to make inputs whilst other waited for their turn outside.
Committee Chairperson, Dr Mathole Motshekga, commended the crowd for the peaceful behavior in which they attended the public hearings. “It is clear that participants are adhering to health protocols under Covid-19 Level 1 regulations.”
Dr Motshekga reminded the meeting that the mandate of the committee is to seek input on the content and formulation of section 25 of the Constitution that would allow for the amendment. “We are here because we do not have the monopoly of wisdom and want to get your input.”
The majority of participants made it clear that the expropriation of land without compensation is long overdue. Many indicated that the amendment should include that natural resources like land and minerals should be in the ownership of the state.
According to participants, this will improve social and economic transformation. Participants indicated that they would want to see in the amendment that no provision of this amendment may impede the state to expropriate land without compensation.
Some participants indicated that the process should start with the expropriation of urban land without compensation as the majority of people were moved previously far from the central business districts where work opportunities are. Now they spend a lot of time and money commuting to work daily. They said the concept of “willing buyer, willing seller”, which is currently used by the State, does not work. They complained about the 1913 cut-off date for land claims as it limited land restitution and redistribution.
Dr Motshekga said this is the last leg of the public hearings to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation. “The amendment will be the greatest victory for all, black and white, as it is a lasting solution to the challenges of South Africa. The people have spoken. Now that this has happened, the best that can happen is for Members of Parliament to vote in favour of the report recommending this. It will address the problem of the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.”
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE AD HOC COMMITTEE TO INITIATE AND INTRODUCE LEGISLATION AMENDING SECTION 25 OF THE CONSTITUTION, DR MATHOLE MOTSHEKGA.
For media enquiries or interviews, please contact the Committee’s Media Officer:
Name: Rajaa Azzakani (Ms)
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