The Ad Hoc Committee to Initiate and Introduce Legislation Amending Section 25 of the Constitution has finalised the public participation process.
The committee chairperson, Dr Mathole Motsheka, confirmed this in a statement following a meeting with three ministers on land reform and related matters.
The chairperson added that the committee will now focus on the “adoption of the report before moving to deliberations on the 18th Constitutional Amendment Bill, which will see the amendment of Section 25”.
The public works and infrastructure, mineral resources and energy and justice and constitutional development departments made presentations to the committee.
The public works and infrastructure minister, Patricia de Lille, pointed out that the Expropriation Bill together with the Amendment of Section 25 of the Constitution will bring about much-needed “spatial justice”.
The mineral resources and energy minister, Gwede Mantashe, indicated that the Draft 18th Constitutional Amendment Bill will “bring long-needed legal certainty by clarifying the existing anomalous relationship between absolute protection of existing property rights and the state’s restorative obligation to redress past injustices through land and related reforms”.
The justice and correctional services minister, Ronald Lamola, referred to the Draft Land Courts Bill approved by cabinet earlier this year for tabling in parliament.
According to the cabinet statement, the draft bill seeks to set up a specialist Land Court, “with its judgements, orders and decisions appealable at the proposed specialist Land Court of Appeal”.
The draft bill will also resolve the challenges that were experienced under the Restitution of Land Rights Act “such as backlogs in land claims and dispute resolution mechanisms when disputes arise”.
It will also contribute to the implementation of the Land Reform Programme.
The minister informed the committee that “two permanent Land Court Judges are to be appointed, indicating government’s commitment to speeding up land reform”.
According to the chairperson, the committee has so far “worked well without voting and with Consensus”.
“I ask that we continue in this spirit and that it will prevail in order to deliver on our mandate by 21 May 2021”, he said.