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Draft Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill on Track

February 12, 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 by 19 March 2021.

In a statement, the committee confirmed that it will meet on 12 February 2021 to consider the report on the public participation process.

An amended programme on the committee’s work was adopted yesterday.

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 (NA) re-established the ad hoc committee.

In a statement at the time, parliament declared that the “outbreak of the Coronavirus affected the Committee’s programme, and its term expired on 29 May 2020 before it could complete its mandate”.

“The NA agreed to re-establish the Committee with the same composition and powers as its predecessor and instructed it to incorporate in its work the proceedings and all the work of the previous committee until its term expired.”

Nation-wide public hearings were finalised at the end of last year.

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.

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”.

The committee plans to meet “at least twice a week in order to meet its deadline of next month to finalise and adopt the amendment Bill”.

Committee chairperson, Dr Mathole Motshekga, requested committee members to prioritise the meetings of the committee.

“The land question is a build or break question for our country. We need to ensure that we deliver to the aspirations of all South Africans, black and white”, he said.

The amended programme is not yet available.