The Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure met on a virtual platform to consider and adopt the Report on the Expropriation Bill [B23 -2020].
Noting that the report was considered in the previous meeting, amendments were made to it, and the minority reports by the DA and the IFP were included, all parties in attendance supported the adoption of the report. The ACDP and the DA clarified that although they accepted the report, they did not support the bill. In the absence of the representative for the EFF, the Committee noted the opposition of the EFF to the Expropriation Bill and the report.
The Chairperson had difficulty accessing the virtual platform owing to the electricity load shedding. She summarised the position of the Committee: The previous week, the intention had been to adopt the report on the Expropriation Bill but some Members felt that having raised issues, it was better to postpone the adoption of the report. The report was presented the previous week.
Committee Report on Expropriation Bill
The Committee Secretary stated that all changes had been made and Members were happy with the changes effected to the actual report, which had been sent to them. The meeting was required to undertake the final consideration and adoption.
The Chairperson noted that Ms A Siwisa (EFF) was not present but that she had very clearly indicated that EFF did not agree with the Bill or the subsequent report and her view should be noted in her absence.
Ms L Mjobo (ANC) proposed the adoption of the report on behalf of the ANC which was happy with both the Bill and the report.
Ms S Graham-Mare (DA) stated that the Democratic Alliance supported the adoption of the report, as it accurately reflected the Democratic Alliance’s opposition to the Bill. She clarified that the DA was not supporting the Bill; it was supporting the adoption of the report.
Mr W Thring (ACDP) said that the only meeting in August that he did not attend was the meeting on the 24th which meant that the minutes had to be corrected. He was not unhappy with the process of the Bill. The ACDP supported the report even though the party was not happy with the Bill itself.
Mr E Mathebula (ANC) asked the opposition parties for clarity about the Bill and the report. There was a distinction between the Bill and the clauses in the Bill. When one speaks of a Bill, one speaks about a Bill in its entirety. The opposition parties had said that they supported various clauses in the Bill, but now they did not support the Bill. Did it mean they no longer supported even the clauses they had supported? Had they changed position or what?
Mr Thring clarified that he had not changed position. The ACDP’s position had been fairly clear. There were some considerations within the Bill that it was not happy with and some clauses in the Bill that it was not happy with. He had indicated which ones the ACDPP was not happy with. But in total, the ACDP would not support the Bill.
Ms Graham-Mare explained that what was being adopted in the meeting was the report. The report indicated what had happened in the process of bringing the law on expropriation to the National Assembly. The DA had submitted a minority report that spoke to the clauses that it disagreed with and, based on the fact that there were a number of clauses that the DA believed were incorrectly included in the Bill. That clause 12.3 was unconstitutional, the DA could not support the Bill in its current form. So while she agreed that the report was a true reflection of the process that had been followed, and the inputs that everybody had made, including the Minority Reports by the Democratic Alliance and the IFP, the DA could not support the Bill in its current incarnation.
Mr T Mashele (ANC) requested that the meeting not be extended too long. The purpose of the meeting was to adopt or reject the report. The technicalities had been attended to and the meeting had agreed to adopt the report. He moved in support of everyone who supported the adoption of the report. The position of all parties was clear and the meeting should move on.
The Chairperson noted the minority report expressing a non-acceptance of the Bill but it was clear that all parties accepted the report. She expressed her gratitude to all who had assisted in the processing of the Bill.
Read: ATC220920: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure on the Expropriation Bill [B 23B – 2020], dated 20 September 2022
Consideration of minutes
The Committee Secretary presented the minutes.
The minutes of 31 August 2022 had been edited and Mr Thring’s name had been added to the register. The minutes were unanimously adopted with the amendments.
The minutes of 14 September 2022 was unanimously adopted with no amendments.
The Secretary informed Members that the oversight visit discussed in a previous meeting had been approved.
The Chairperson thanked Members for their commitment despite the really difficult conditions imposed by load shedding. She pointed out that the meeting the following day would be virtual as Parliament was not yet in a position to support in-person meetings as the Committee had found out the previous week. Committee rooms were not ready for meetings.
Mr Thring said, in reference to the Chairperson’s comments on the load shedding across the country, that it had a detrimental effect on almost everyone and although the Committee was not the Public Enterprises Portfolio Committee, something had to be done. It was serious and his office was receiving so many complaints: people were not only losing their food, but the electrical implements were breaking down because of the surge of electricity. It was a national crisis and something that the Committee should be considering; all MPs should consider the crisis and make sure that the lights stay on. The consequences if that did not happen were too ghastly to contemplate. The Ministers were meeting and he had read that the President had returned early from his visit overseas to try to address the crisis, but MPs should be getting first-hand information regarding what was being done, and how further load shedding would be prevented.
The Chairperson appreciated that the President had cut his visit short because he wanted to address the national crisis. Maybe after discussing the matter with Eskom and the relevant ministries, the President would address the nation. The Members should wait patiently, but she noted Mr Thring’s concern. It was a crisis that was affecting everyone and, as public representatives, they needed to be concerned not only for themselves, but also for the people they were leading.
The meeting was adjourned.
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