Parliament is to oppose AfriForum’s application to the High Court Western Cape Division (Cape Town) on the Joint Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) Report on Section 25.
AfriForum is asking the court to declare parliament’s adoption of the CRC Report on the possible review of Section 25 of the Constitution constitutionally invalid.
In a statement, parliament confirmed that the basis for opposing the application – scheduled for hearing tomorrow – is that the relief AfriForum is seeking has become moot.
“This is because the process of potentially amending Section 25 of the Constitution has moved far beyond the factual background underlying AfriForum’s application and makes the relief it seeks of no consequence.”
Parliament adopted the report in December 2018 after the court “affirmed Parliament’s constitutional right to independently determine and conduct its business, without undue interference”.
The Ad Hoc Committee to Initiate and Introduce Legislation Amending Section 25 of the Constitution was re-established earlier this year.
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 an earlier statement, 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.”
The Draft Constitution Eighteenth Amendment 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 Ad Hoc Committee needs to report back to the NA by 31 December 2020.