The Ad Hoc Committee to Initiate and Introduce Legislation Amending Section 25 of the Constitution is to seek an extension of 30 days.
In a statement, the committee clarified that the extension will be sought from the national assembly in order for it to “complete its work on the wording of the amendments that will see the expropriation of land without compensation embedded in the Constitution”.
The multiparty ad hoc committee tasked with initiating and introducing legislation amending Section 25 of the Constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation was set up in July 2019.
In 2020, the national assembly re-established the ad hoc committee.
The committee has been busy with deliberations on the Draft Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill.
The Draft Bill was published for comment at the end of 2019.
The aim of the draft bill is to amend the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, so as to provide that where land and any improvements thereon are expropriated for the purposes of land reform, the amount of compensation payable may be nil; and to provide for matters connected therewith.
According to the committee chairperson, Dr Mathole Motshekga, the extension is required as political parties could not reach consensus on some issues.
The Economic Freedom Fighters had called for a 60 days extension.
“All political parties represented supported the position for the request of a postponement. Some differed on the timeframe for the extension. However, the committee resolved to request a further 30 days instead to conclude its work. I do not think it is necessary to ask for a longer extension as some of the outstanding matters are not many or complex. Some political parties have already moved closer to each other regarding their positions,” said Dr Motshekga.
The extension, if granted, will allow political parties to return to bi-lateral discussions outside the formal committee meeting in order to bridge the gap or reach consensus on the proposed amendments.
At a meeting on Friday last week, the committee resolved to amend the entire Section 25 of the Constitution and not just be limited to certain sub-sections.
The chairperson pointed out that confining the amendments to only Section 25 sub-section 2 and sub-section 3 would “defeat the purpose of participatory democracy. The people of South Africa have spoken in the public hearings. They did not just limit themselves to specific sub-sections. We (Parliament) do not have a monopoly of wisdom and therefore we need to listen to them”.