Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill: Committee report

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Meeting Summary


Tabled Committee Reports
Draft Bill Approved - September 2021

The Committee met to adopt its final report on the Constitutional Eighteenth Amendment Bill, which the Committee had adopted the week before.

In considering its draft report, the Committee discussed at length two issues raised by the EFF. The EFF argued that the report should reflect the EFF’s opposition to the Bill, and should refer to the 27 February 2018 resolution of the National Assembly. That resolution, the EFF said, explicitly mentioned state custodianship of land and had initiated the review of Section 25.

However, the Committee disagreed with the EFF in both respects, primarily on the grounds that the report should focus on work done in Committee meetings. Members disputed the claim that the resolution passed by the National Assembly had in fact mentioned state custodianship. They also pointed out that, had the EFF attended recent Committee meetings, it would have been able to formally record its opposition to the Bill, by voting against it as the DA and FF+ had.

The Committee agreed to several revisions proposed by the ANC to the draft report. Most significantly, the ANC proposed removing a reference to a legal opinion, concerning the scope of the Committee’s mandate, which had been contentious in prior Committee meetings.

The Committee adopted the report as revised by the ANC. The EFF rejected the report, and the DA and FF+ reserved their positions, pending consultation with their caucuses. The report, like the Bill, would be sent to the House for adoption.

The meeting closed with Members reflecting on the Committee’s process, thanking each other, the parliamentary staff, and the public for their participation. The DA and FF+ were praised for having participated fully in the Committee even when they had disagreed with the ANC’s position.

Meeting report

The Chairperson welcomed Members and said that the Committee was meeting to adopt its draft minutes and final report.

Consideration and adoption of Committee minutes
The Committee adopted its minutes dated 18 June, 2 July, 9 July, 16 July, 26 August, 27 August, 1 September, and 3 September 2021.

Ms R Lesoma (ANC) said that the Committee appreciated the well-written minutes. The fact that the minutes had not required any substantive or grammatical modifications showed the Committee Secretariat’s capacity and vigilance in recording the Committee’s meetings.

The Chairperson said he was happy that Ms Lesoma had raised this on behalf of the collective. He was also very impressed with the writing of the minutes, which showed the secretariat’s competence. 

Mr S Gumede (ANC) said he was happy with the Chairperson’s strategic approach to Committee business. In the current meeting, it had been crucial for the Committee to begin by considering the minutes, because the report under consideration talked to the minutes, rather than the minutes talking to the report.

The Chairperson said that his approach had been influenced by Mr P Moroatshehla (ANC). He had not agreed initially, but he could now see that Mr Moroatshehla had been right. He thanked Mr Gumede for confirming that this approach was correct. It was important to give credit where credit was due. Members needed each other – they had to act as a collective, and correct one another, because the Committee was acting in the interests of the people, not in Members’ self-interest.

Remarks by the Chairperson
The Chairperson said that the Committee had to thank Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Speaker of the National Assembly (NA), for appreciating the complexity of amending an entrenched section of the Constitution, or indeed of the Bill of Rights – which was what Section 25 was. She had therefore granted a two-week extension to enable the Committee to complete its work.

The Committee had only adopted the revised Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill on 3 September. On the same day, it had instructed the Committee secretariat to prepare a draft report by midday on 7 September, so that Members could prepare for the current meeting. The secretariat had therefore had less than two days to prepare the report, which had been informed by the Committee minutes. The Committee had to commend the secretariat for managing to produce the draft report under great pressure.

The Chairperson reminded Members that the report gave an account of the journey the Committee had travelled since its establishment. It therefore provided a sequence of events – an account of the process, rather than an account of the debate on substantive issues. The evolution of the substantive matters was captured in the minutes that the Committee had just adopted.

The Committee was not gathered in the meeting as a drafting team. The Committee was meeting to ensure that the draft report was factually correct, complied with standard drafting practices, captured the necessary changes where applicable, contained no repetitions, and was consistent. Following this evaluation, the Committee could adopt the report, with any necessary corrections. It could then refer the report to the relevant parliamentary mechanisms for quality checks, before it was published in the Announcements, Tablings and Committee Reports (ATC). If the draft report was adopted in the current meeting, Parliament would have two days to do the necessary checks, which would ensure a smooth completion of the Committee’s work.

The Chairperson asked the Committee secretariat to present the report paragraph by paragraph, allowing Members to make comments or suggest changes.

Consideration of draft Committee report
Mr Vhonani Ramaano, Committee Secretary, presented the Committee’s draft report.

Paragraph one: Background   

Mr F Shivambu (EFF) said that it could not be correct for the report to start with the events of 25 July 2019. That had not been the genesis of this process. The genesis of this process had been the NA resolution of 27 February 2018, which had called for a constitutional review committee to review and amend Section 25 of the Constitution to make it possible for the state to expropriate land in the public interest without compensation. That committee was to conduct public hearings and to propose the necessary constitutional amendments regarding the kind of land tenure regime needed in the future, considering the necessity of state custodianship over all South African land.

Mr Shivambu said that the Committee’s report had to recount the true genesis of the process it had undertaken, so that the context for the Committee’s work was clear. Of course, this was related to the EFF’s objection that the process had later changed course and become “distorted.” The Committee’s report could not pick up midway through the process. Not to properly capture the genesis of the process was a serious and fundamental distortion, which had to be corrected.

The Chairperson said that the Committee had received a three-week extension to continue its work. Mr Shivambu’s concerns, in his view, were covered in an earlier phase. The report under consideration was based on the written submissions received during the extension period, which reacted directly to the second draft amendment Bill as advertised. The report did not throw away what had happened earlier, but rather focused on the draft amendment Bill – because the Committee’s task had been to produce an amendment Bill. So he did not see anything wrong with the report’s approach, though he would not dictate to the Committee.

Dr C Mulder (FF+) said that the Committee should take note of Mr Shivambu’s concern. However, the Committee could not deal with work that had been done by other committees. Mr Shivambu was referring to a resolution that had been dealt with by the Constitutional Review Committee. There had also previously been another ad hoc committee. After the 2019 election, however, this Committee had been appointed. The Committee’s report had to deal with the work that this Committee had done. Incidentally, when speaking of the 2018 motion, Members should refer to the motion as amended by the NA, not to the motion proposed by the EFF. In any case, this Committee had only been established in 2019, so he thought it was correct for the report to start from there.

Ms Lesoma said that the first paragraph of the report did capture and “bring along” the work of the Fifth Parliament, but, ultimately, the report dealt with the work done by the Sixth Parliament and in this Committee. The report was a summary, and it could not cover in detail the events that had led to the Committee’s establishment. She thought that the report adequately captured the genesis of the process and was in order.

The Chairperson said that Dr Mulder, Ms Lesoma and himself were agreed that the Committee was on the right course.

Mr Gumede agreed with Dr Mulder and Ms Lesoma. But he did not want to cast aside Mr Shivambu’s point. It would have been preferable for Mr Shivambu to have a specific written proposal for how the report should open, so that Members could contrast that proposal with the current phrasing of the report.

The Chairperson suggested that the Committee should work on the premise that the correct starting point for the report was 25 July 2019. He suggested that the Committee should “park” Mr Shivambu’s concern and proceed.

Mr Shivambu said that because this was the final report, it was important to correctly capture the genesis of the process. The report could include the text of the 27 February 2018 motion, and acknowledge that the constitutional amendment was the culmination of a process that had begun with that motion. He did not think that there would be anything wrong with that. Such an acknowledgement would not change the content of the Committee’s ultimate recommendations. The report had to properly contextualise the process and the underlying basis for the Committee’s deliberations. For the report to begin with the Committee’s establishment in 2019, without taking prior events into consideration, was ahistorical, inappropriate, and outright wrong. 

The Chairperson said that the Committee had not dismissed Mr Shivambu’s concern – Mr Gumede had said that he did not want to do so. His suggestion was that the Committee should park the issue and come back to it later, so that this disagreement did not “cloud” the other issues that the Committee had to consider.

Prof A Lotriet (DA) agreed that the report’s approach was adequate and that it did not have to refer to the original 2018 resolution. The first paragraph did refer to the Constitutional Review Committee’s report, adopted on 25 July 2019, and that report in turn referred to earlier events. If the Committee decided to provide a full exposition of the genesis of the process, it could “go back and back” indefinitely. 

The Chairperson thought that Mr Shivambu, being a “revolutionary democrat,” could agree that the ANC, DA, and FF+ agreed that 2019 was the correct point of departure for the report. He asked to move on.

Ms Lesoma said that the first paragraph of the report captured the genesis of the process, and even referred to the relevant ATC numbers. She was comfortable with the phrasing. It noted that the Fifth Parliament had done some related work, and outlined the Committee’s mandate. The Committee should accept the first and second paragraphs of the draft report.

The Chairperson thanked Ms Lesoma for her “pointed observation.” The report did indeed recognise the work of the Constitutional Review Committee. Thus there was no need to interfere with the flow of the report. 

Dr Mulder agreed. The first paragraph was a factual account of events.

Mr Shivambu proposed that, in addition to mentioning the report of the Constitutional Review Committee, the report should specifically cite the original parliamentary resolution, and specify that the Committee had been established because of that resolution. That resolution – which had marked the beginning of Parliament’s review of Section 25 – was not long. It was important to give a clearer indication of the context than was provided by the ATC numbers. It was “opportunism” for Members to say that the current draft adequately captured the genesis of the process, because it did not. Including a brief reference to the original resolution would not constitute a major modification to the report – the report would still go on to state the Committee’s “reactionary” recommendations. 

The Chairperson disagreed with Mr Shivambu. The draft report referred to the Constitutional Review Committee. All relevant agreements and minutes could be found in the ATC if anyone wanted fuller detail. The report could not cover events that had previously been captured elsewhere. A majority of Members disagreed with Mr Shivambu, so the matter should be closed.

Paragraph four: Early Committee briefings

Ms Lesoma proposed a minor change to paragraph four, inserting the words “amongst others.” 

Paragraph five: First draft Bill

In paragraph five, Ms Lesoma proposed inserting that “on 5 December 2019, different political parties made submissions” on the draft Bill.

Mr Gumede proposed inserting that, “The Committee understood and agreed that a draft Bill at that stage would have to be agreed upon in order to trigger the public process of commenting on the Bill.”

Paragraph six: Public hearings

Ms Lesoma proposed inserting the word “smoothly,” to indicate that the public hearings had been orderly.

The Chairperson agreed. The “smooth” progress of the hearings had been reflected in a Committee press release.

Paragraph eight: Scope of the Committee’s mandate

The Chairperson said that the Committee needed to check whether it was standard practice for a report to quote directly from a legal opinion received by the Committee, as paragraph eight did. Was this a new innovation? The Committee had to be consistent in how it incorporated legal opinions into its reports.

Dr Mulder said that he was not sure whether quoting a legal opinion was a new practice, but the Committee should not necessarily reject all new practices. The quoted text was not the whole legal opinion – it was an extract of a very important part of the legal opinion, which had had an important influence on the Committee’s work. It was also factual. He therefore thought it should remain in the report.

Ms Lesoma said that the Chairperson had, in his opening remarks, mentioned the criteria that the Committee should use when considering the report. Importantly, the Committee had already adopted all its minutes. The purpose of the minutes was to capture the Committee’s discussions and deliberations, and the details thereof. That was the standard protocol, accepted by all Members. The principal role of the Constitutional and Legal Services Office (CLSO) was to advise the Committee legally, and she agreed with Dr Mulder that the quoted text was only an extract. She proposed an entirely new version of the eighth paragraph, which had previously been part of the ninth paragraph and which did not refer to the legal opinion at all (see report). 

Ms Lesoma said that the Committee had spent more than four meetings – and many hours – debating its mandate, with Members repeating over and over that the Committee’s mandate was to amend Section 25, and not to do so selectively. These debates were captured in the minutes, and summarised by her proposal for the eighth proposal. The Committee respected the legal advice it had been given, but including selected parts of that advice in its report would lead to unnecessary and unhelpful arguments among Members. None of the legal advice received by the Committee had undermined the work it had gone on to do.

Mr Shivambu said that he thought CLSO was again trying to “force-feed” the Committee an opinion, even after the Committee had rejected that opinion the past. This was clearly an attempt to “build a case for the DA” in the event that the Bill was passed. The text of the legal opinion had to be deleted – the Committee had rejected that piece of legal advice, and it should not compromise the report.

Mr Gumede wished to discuss Mr Shivambu and Ms Lesoma’s proposals further. The suggestion seemed to be that the eighth paragraph should be deleted, which would result in a renumbering of the following paragraphs.

The Chairperson agreed with Ms Lesoma’s proposal. Ms Lesoma was not saying that the Committee had rejected the legal opinion, but that it had taken the legal opinion as advice. After being advised, it had acted. Ms Lesoma had also pointed out that the minutes captured the events of the relevant meetings. So the proposal was not to reject anything, but to reformulate the eighth paragraph without quoting from the legal opinion. As Mr Gumede had pointed out, that might necessitate changes in later paragraphs.

Ms Lesoma said that her proposal would cover Mr Shivambu’s concerns and reflect the Committee’s decisions following the publication of the first draft Bill. It was objective and balanced.

The Chairperson agreed. The report should reflect the Committee’s decisions, which were taken to have been informed by advice.

Mr Ramaano reminded Members that the report had been drafted in consultation with CLSO but not by CLSO. It should not be seen as the product of CLSO or of one particular parliamentary section.

The Chairperson agreed.

Paragraph nine: Revision of first draft Bill 

Ms N Ntobongwana (ANC) and Ms Lesoma proposed deleting the ninth paragraph, since Ms Lesoma had already proposed to move the important part of the ninth paragraph into the eighth paragraph, and the rest of the ninth paragraph was related to the legal opinion that Ms Lesoma had proposed to delete.

Members discussed the implications of this proposal for the numbering of the report.

Paragraph ten: Committee amendments

The Chairperson said that the tenth paragraph of the report erroneously said that he had requested a presentation from CLSO. The request had been made by the management committee.

Mr Shivambu said that the report should reflect that the EFF had not endorsed the phrasing of the amendments adopted by the Committee.

The Chairperson asked whether such a report should specify the positions taken by each political party during the Committee’s deliberations, or whether it should simply address the outcomes of the deliberations.

Prof Lotriet said that it was extremely important for such a report to be completely accurate and explicit. Currently, the tenth paragraph of the report said that the Committee had adopted certain amendments, with the DA and FF+ dissenting. That implied that the amendments had been supported by all parties except the DA and FF+. But that was not true. The truth was that two parties had not been present to exercise their vote. She thought that should be reflected in the report.

Ms Lesoma said that the tenth paragraph dealt with very important dates, giving a summary of meetings between 26 August and 3 September. She agreed “in a way” with Prof Lotriet, but added that no apology had been registered by the political parties that had been absent. That was reflected in the minutes. The Committee could not record what parties would have said had they been present, given that the parties in question had in fact been absent. While she understood the rationale, Members were not there to “cover each other.” The relevant parties would have to record their views on the Bill when it was debated in the House.

Ms Lesoma proposed rewriting the part of the tenth paragraph which recorded the amendments to the Bill agreed to by the Committee (see report). Importantly, the draft should number the amendments in a way that corresponded to the clauses of the Bill, and the amendments should be elucidated in detail. She understood that the report was summative, but it should not misrepresent the content of the amendments.

The Chairperson said that it was important for the Committee not to confuse the public. The report should number the amendments to show which clauses of the Bill, and which sections of the Constitution, were at stake.

The Chairperson also agreed with Ms Lesoma that the report should capture what had truly happened in the meeting at which the Bill had been adopted. Those events were also recorded in the minutes, so anybody who had a query could refer to the minutes to confirm that the report had captured the events correctly.

Dr Mulder agreed with the Chairperson and Ms Lesoma. He did not have a strong opinion on Ms Lesoma’s proposed revision of the paragraph. He thought the current version of the report might be easier to understand – it simplified and captured the essence of the Committee’s amendments. The text of the Bill itself, which Ms Lesoma proposed including in the report, was more complicated and could be confusing.

On the other hand, Dr Mulder did firmly believe that the report should indicate that the DA and FF+ had dissented and voted against the adoption of the amendments. Perhaps the report should also indicate that the ANC had supported the amendments. He would not have a problem with that, because that was what had happened in the meeting. He did not think the report could include the views of parties which had decided not to participate in that meeting. That was the case even if those parties were present in the current meeting and were now telling the Committee what they would have said had they been present. The Committee could only report on what had actually happened in the relevant meetings.

Mr Shivambu said that the report had to make it clear that the EFF did not agree with the Bill being presented to the House. On several occasions, the EFF had made clear and categorical objections to the “reactionary” amendments proposed by the ANC. That should be reflected in the report. Other parties could disagree with the EFF’s position, but they could not deny the EFF the opportunity to disagree with them. Once the Committee took the Bill for public consultation, the EFF had known “that it was done” – that no substantial changes would be made. At that point, the EFF had understood that the ANC had taken an ideological and political decision to refuse expropriation of land without compensation, and to refuse state custodianship of all South African land.

Mr Shivambu said that the report had to reflect, clearly and categorically – whether in the tenth paragraph or elsewhere – that the EFF opposed the current Bill. The EFF was opposed to the ANC’s policy on land expropriation without compensation, and thought that its approach would not solve the country’s historical land crisis. The EFF had deliberately not participated in recent Committee meetings, because it had known that the Bill was “sell-out position.” Ultimately, however, the EFF objected to the “nonsensical” amendments proposed by the Bill, and the report had to reflect that.

The Chairperson replied that the Committee had agreed to consider the report paragraph by paragraph, but Mr Shivambu was now expressing a “comprehensive condemnation” of the Bill in its entirety. He did not know how that helped the Committee. He agreed with Ms Lesoma and Dr Mulder that, at the relevant meeting, the ANC had proposed amendments which had been adopted by a majority of the Committee, with the DA and FF+ dissenting. That was a factual reflection of events. Mr Shivambu’s comprehensive condemnation was not reflected in any minutes of the Committee, though the Committee hoped that his view would be recorded somewhere in the future.

Ms Lesoma agreed.

Mr Gumede suggested that the revised version of the report should be circulated to Members.

The Chairperson agreed.

Ms Lesoma said that she would send her proposed revisions to Mr Ramaano.

EFF rejection of the Bill

Returning to his earlier point, Mr Shivambu said that the minutes of Committee deliberations would reflect many occasions on which the EFF had made its own proposals for the Bill. The EFF had a right to disagree. It was not as though the EFF was going to force the Committee to agree with its position, but its own disagreement with the amendments had to be recorded in the report. The EFF was fundamentally opposed to the manner in which this process had been handled. It was also opposed to the “sell-out position” of the ANC and the other parties that had participated in the process. The EFF knew how it was going to deal with the land question, and it was ultimately going to be successful in this regard.

The Chairperson reminded Members that he had repeatedly said, from the beginning of the process, that South Africa’s constitutional democracy was both representative and participatory. That meant that as parliamentarians, Members did not have a monopoly on wisdom. Parliamentarians were enjoined to consult with the people. That was why the Committee had held public hearings and solicited written submissions. When the Committee took into account the positions of political parties, it also had to take into account the positions expressed by members of the public. Thus this was not a process between the ANC and the EFF, where it would be appropriate for the report to outline the ANC’s positions and the EFF’s positions and the disagreements between them. That would be entirely the wrong approach. The Committee had to take into account what all political parties were saying, but, more importantly, it had to take into account what the people were saying. The Committee was amending the Constitution, which was not only a party-political matter. The Constitution had to reflect the will of the people. The Bill had been informed not only by one party, but also by what the people had said.

The Chairperson concluded that it would be wrong for the report to specify that the EFF was fundamentally opposed to the Bill. If the EFF wanted to record its opposition, it would have an opportunity in the House to debate the Bill and to explain its views. But, in its report, the Committee was not contrasting the ANC position and the EFF position. This was a people’s project, and a people’s process. The Bill, as adopted on 3 September, had been informed by public participation. He did not agree with Mr Shivambu’s approach. 

Ms Lesoma suggested that the Committee should take a break before reconvening to formally adopt the revised report.

Dr Mulder agreed with the Chairperson. The purpose of the report was not to summarise different views on the Bill. If that was the purpose of the report, how could the Committee justify considering only the views of political parties, and not those of all the organisations and individuals who had made submissions? Mr Shivambu had deliberately decided not to attend the last four or five meetings. The Committee could not do anything about that. The EFF had not been present to vote against the Bill, as other parties had done. If the EFF wanted further recourse, it could vote against the report, issue a public statement, and participate in the debate on the Bill.

Mr Shivambu insisted that the report should reflect that the EFF did not support the amendment in its current form.

The Chairperson said that the Committee could not single out the EFF – if it mentioned the EFF’s view, it would have to mention the views of everyone who had participated in the process, and that was not feasible. As Dr Mulder had said, the EFF retained the right to issue a statement of its position, and to make its arguments before the House. But the Committee’s report had to comply with certain drafting norms. Mr Shivambu’s demand could not be accommodated.

The Committee adjourned for a short break.

Consideration of revised draft Committee report
The Chairperson said that the report had been revised to reflect the ANC’s proposals. The Committee now needed to ensure that those had been accurately reflected, before it adopted the report.

Mr Ramaano took the Committee through the changes that had been made to the draft report. He asked whether the report should capture which parties had been absent at the 3 September meeting in which the Committee had adopted the Bill. The ACDP had sent an apology on that occasion.

The Chairperson said that the report could not single out the EFF – why should the EFF take precedence over others? In any case, he did not think that the report had to reflect who had been present for the adoption of the Bill. That was captured in the minutes, which had been adopted and which would be available for reference.

The Chairperson said that Ms Lesoma’s proposal for the tenth paragraph was not an amendment, but a correction. Ms Lesoma had merely reminded the Committee how its amendments should have been captured.

Mr Shivambu referred Members to the NA Rules. Rule 288(3)(f) dealt with committee reports which were not unanimous. Point (ii) said that when a committee was finalising a report, it had to, “in addition to the views representative of the majority in the committee, convey any views of a minority in the committee in order to facilitate debate when the report comes before the House.” The NA Rules therefore allowed the EFF to demand that the final report should capture the EFF’s perspective on the Bill, as the perspective of a minority.

He said that the EFF was opposed to the amendments proposed in the current Bill. He was sharing that perspective so that there could be a proper debate, informed by all the deliberations that had occurred since the start of the process. It was the EFF’s constitutional right to be in the meeting. He knew that other parties disagreed with the EFF, but they should at least allow the report to reflect that disagreement. Other parties did not have to agree with the EFF’s position, but the EFF’s position had to be reflected in the report.

The Chairperson replied that the Committee had already addressed Mr Shivambu’s concern. The Committee had concluded that the report would reflect the dissent of parties – namely, the DA and the FF+ – which had been present to dissent during the meeting at which the Bill had been adopted. However, Mr Shivambu had not been present. What was the Committee to record, if the EFF had not been present and therefore had not said anything? He thought that the matter had been sufficiently addressed and should be put to rest.

Mr Shivambu asked whether the report could reflect that the EFF, in the current meeting, had expressed disagreement with the Committee’s majority decision. That would be a revision of the same kind that Ms Lesoma had proposed to the report, and the NA Rules permitted it.  

Dr Mulder said that Mr Shivambu’s objection should be reflected in the minutes of the current meeting, not in the Committee report.

The Chairperson agreed.

Mr Moroatshehla said that the Committee was definitely satisfied with the revised report.

At the suggestion of Mr Gumede, Mr Ramaano went through the revisions to the report again, for the benefit of Ms Lesoma, who had returned to the meeting late.

Ms Lesoma said that the changes captured her proposals.

The Chairperson thanked Mr Gumede for reminding the Committee that it always had to have all Members on board.

Adoption of Committee report
The Committee adopted the report as revised.

Mr Shivambu opposed the adoption of the report. It represented a “fundamental departure” from the NA resolution of 27 February 2018. That resolution had said, among other things, that the constitutional amendments proposed by Parliament should take into account the necessity of state custodianship over all South African land. The EFF did not believe that the Bill was consistent with the principles of state custodianship and equal distribution of land. The EFF rejected “with contempt” what it saw as a “sell-out proposal” to amend Section 25 in a manner that would not give land to the people. If politicians failed to take the simple and logical decision of enacting state custodianship on behalf of all people, then the EFF urged people to consider other forms of land reform and land redistribution. Parliament had failed its people, and the EFF would never agree with the proposed constitutional amendment.

The Chairperson said that Mr Shivambu was speaking on behalf of the EFF, not on behalf of the people. The people had not said what he was saying.

Prof Lotriet said that the DA reserved its position. This should not be taken to imply that the DA did not support the report, but it was required to put the report to its caucus.  

The Chairperson said that he had worked with the DA in the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, where the DA had taken the same approach.

Dr Mulder said that the FF+ also reserved its position. He would consult his caucus on the final report.

Dr Mulder said that although Mr Shivambu was entitled to his position, the Committee could not publicly endorse untrue statements or “myths.” The original motion proposed by the EFF in the NA had indeed referred to “the necessity of the state being a custodian of all South African land.” The EFF had felt strongly about that point. But the motion had been amended before it was adopted by the House. The motion adopted on 27 February 2018 had not included that phrase, and it was factually incorrect to claim otherwise.  

Mr Shivambu said that he had read verbatim from the ATC of 27 February 2018. It was a true reflection of Parliament’s resolution on that date. Dr Mulder was imagining otherwise and should check the parliamentary minutes.

The Chairperson said that everybody had the right to imagine, but, in a collective, everyone’s imagination had to be subject to the position of the majority. The Committee had formally adopted the report, with the DA and FF+ reserving their positions.

Closing remarks
The Chairperson said that the Committee had to thank the people of South Africa, who had responded to the Committee’s call to participate in the public hearings. When called upon to make further written submissions, people had done so without reservation. The Committee’s report took into account not only the positions of political parties represented in the Committee, but also the submissions made by members of the public. Traditional and Khoi-San leaders, and government departments, had also made timeous contributions. The Committee was indebted to stakeholders for their participation. The Committee’s process was a people’s process, not merely a party-political process. What the public said mattered. As stated in the Freedom Charter, by South Africans both black and white, no constitution or government could legitimately claim authority unless it was based on the will of the people. The Committee’s report was based on the will of the people and on the contributions of political parties.

The Chairperson thanked Members. He was happy that all political parties, especially the FF+ and the DA, had participated fully – even if they had not agreed with certain things – and had expressed themselves without fear or favour.

Dr Mulder thanked the Committee staff, who had done “sterling” work throughout a difficult process, and CLSO, which had always been ready to assist. He also thanked the Chairperson. He said light-heartedly that, although they disagreed quite often, he enjoyed hearing the Chairperson’s occasional “lectures” on politics and the Constitution. 

Prof Lotriet conveyed the DA’s gratitude to the Committee staff and parliamentary legal services, who had been among the strengths of this process. She thanked the Chairperson and Members. It felt strange to reach the end of a process which she, and Adv G Breytenbach (DA), had been involved in since 2018. It had been “quite a journey.”

The Chairperson was very happy that the Committee had expressed its vote of confidence in the competence of the secretariat and CLSO, who had been subject to unfair criticism. He would officially communicate to parliamentary leadership that Parliament had a competent administration and legal advisors, who had disagreed fearlessly with the Committee when necessary. They had remained loyal to the Constitution and to the rules of Parliament. The country needed officials with this kind of knowledge and integrity.

Ms Lesoma thanked all the political parties. The ANC appreciated, and did not take for granted, the respectful bilateral discussions that it had had with certain parties. She appreciated the opportunity that South Africans had given the ANC to lead the country, and appreciated their participation in the public hearings. The ANC would do its best to change the country’s land patterns, and, where the process came up short, it would be for good reasons.

She conveyed the ANC’s warm thanks to the staff who had supported the Committee. This included CLSO, led by Adv Charmaine van der Merwe; the Committee support staff, led by Dr Thulisile Ganyaza-Twalo; and the Committee secretariat, led by Mr Ramaano and Mr Pilate Gwebu. Even those officials who had not officially belonged to the Committee had treated the Committee with respect. The Committee highly appreciated the staff’s professionalism in recording the meetings and public submissions. 

Finally, Ms Lesoma thanked the Chairperson. That the Chairperson belonged to the ANC did not mean that he had to agree with everything that the ANC said in the Committee. He had navigated the process with political maturity, as an elder and as a professor and doctor. She would miss his political lectures on the history of the country and the oppressed. Members had learned a lot. Indeed, they had even learned a lot about the drafting, tagging, and passage of legislation. She thanked the ANC for giving its representatives the opportunity to lead the process.

The Chairperson said that, in leading the ANC team, Ms Lesoma had maintained good relationships with all political parties. She had ensured that the ANC worked with other parties in bilateral discussions. He had not heard any complaints about her relationships with other Members. Her inclusivity and tolerance was a sign of good leadership – leaders had to consider the views of all political parties, no matter how small. He urged Ms Lesoma to maintain that approach, because it was fitting for a multi-party parliament and a parliament of the people. He thought that the people of South Africa would feel proud and well represented by Members. The process was not over yet, but Members had conducted themselves very well.

He thanked Ms Rajaa Azzakani, the Committee’s Media Officer. Over the past two years, he had never heard any complaints of bias in the media statements she had issued. She had worked loyally and professionally. The statements that she issued were issued in the name of Parliament, and she had not let Parliament or the Committee down.

The meeting was adjourned.


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