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Comment on Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill Extended

January 30, 2020

Parliament

30 January 2020

The deadline for comment on the Draft Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill has been extended.

In a statement, the Ad Hoc Committee to Initiate and Introduce Legislation Amending Section 25 of the Constitution announced that the deadline has been extended until 29 February 2020.

The deadline for comment was originally set for tomorrow.

The ad hoc committee met today to discuss a draft programme on provincial public hearings.

According to the statement, the committee unanimously decided to extend the deadline as the draft bill was “published over the festive season, and the public did not have sufficient time to comment meaningfully on the Bill”.

The draft bill was published for comment in December 2019.

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.

The plan is for the committee to report to the national assembly by 31 March 2020.

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.

The draft bill’s memorandum also adds that “such limitation is a legitimate option for land reform, so as to address the historic wrongs caused by the arbitrary dispossession of land, and in so doing ensure equitable access to land and further empower the majority of South Africans to be productive participants in ownership, food security and agricultural reform programs”.

As regards recent perceptions that parliament was rejecting certain emailed submissions on the proposed legislation, the committee noted that “46 of the more than 140 000 submissions were rejected on the grounds of information technology safety filters used by Parliament”.

The committee chairperson, Dr Mathole Motshekga, is to receive a comprehensive report on the matter.

In terms of proposed public hearings, Dr Motshekga confirmed that public hearings will take place in all provinces and in parliament.

The draft programme is not yet available.