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Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill on Track

September 3, 2021

Parliament

The Ad Hoc Committee to Initiate and Introduce Legislation Amending Section 25 of the Constitution plans to adopt the Draft Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill on Friday, 3 September 2021.

At a meeting earlier this week, the committee resolved to deliberate on the second draft of the bill and not the third version.

According to the committee chairperson, Dr Mathole Motshekga, no further advertising is necessary as the second version of the bill has already gone out for public engagement and the public had an opportunity to make input.

“The majority of members of the committee agreed to rather not work on the third draft of the Bill that included some substantial proposed amendments, which would have required further public participation”, he said.

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 revised bill.

The revised draft bill aims to amend the Constitution 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;
• National legislation must provide circumstances where the amount of compensation is nil;
• Land should be a common heritage of all citizens that the state must safeguard for future generations;
• Conditions should be fostered to enable state custodianship of certain land in order for citizens to gain access to land on an equitable basis; and
• To provide for matters connected therewith.

Provisions contained in the third version calling for the cut-off date for land restitution claims to be changed from 1913 to 1800 are not included in the second draft.

At the meeting, the committee deliberated on the removal of the clause “and any improvements thereon” with reference to improvements made on land that is to be expropriated and members agreed that communal land is not under threat of expropriation, as it is generally classified as “state land”.