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Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill Under the Spotlight

August 30, 2021

Parliament

The Ad Hoc Committee to Initiate and Introduce Legislation Amending Section 25 of the Constitution has been briefed on a report on the second call for submissions on the revised Draft Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill.

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.

In a statement, the committee confirmed that 148 891 written submissions were received during the second round of public engagements.

Three options were placed before the committee, namely, make no amendments to the second version of the bill; make inconsequential amendments to the second version of the bill that will only require slight tweaking of that version or accept the latest submissions and re-advertise the bill as a third version with the request to expand the committee’s mandate.

The national assembly this week granted the committee an extension until 10 September 2021 to complete its work.

The committee plans to meet on Wednesday this week to discuss the way forward.