ATC191209: First Report of the Ad Hoc Committee to Initiate and Introduce Legislation to Amend Section 25 of the Constitution on the Draft Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill, dated 5 December 2019
First Report of the Ad Hoc Committee to Initiate and Introduce Legislation to Amend Section 25 of the Constitution on the Draft Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill, dated 5 December 2019
- On 25 July 2019, the National Assembly noted that in the Fifth Parliament the report of Constitutional Review Committee on Review of section 25 of the Constitution, 1996 (ATC, 15 November 2018, p 4) was adopted by the Assembly and the Council on 4 and 5 December 2018 respectively, recommending that Parliament:
- amends section 25 of the Constitution to make explicit that which is implicit in the Constitution, with regards to expropriation of land without compensation, as 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; and
- urgently establish a mechanism to effect the necessary amendment to the relevant part of section 25 of the Constitution.
The National Assembly resolved to establish an ad hoc committee to initiate and introduce legislation amending section 25 of the Constitution consisting of—
- 11 voting members of the Assembly, as follows: African National Congress 6, Democratic Alliance 2, Economic Freedom Fighters 1 and other parties 2; and
- 14 non-voting members of the Assembly, as follows: African National Congress 2, Democratic Alliance 1, Economic Freedom Fighters 1 and other parties 10.
The names of members of the ad hoc committee were published in the ATC on 21 August 2019.
- The ad hoc committee met on 5 September 2019 to elect its Chairperson. The committee also had a series of meetings discuss its programme and the process to be followed. Furthermore, the committee held a “Constitutional Dialogue on Land Ownership” workshop and invited interested stakeholders to make written submissions on the manner in which section 25 should be amended to make explicit that which is implicit. In addition to this, the Committee also invited the Department of Trade and Industry to brief it on the requirement of compensation when land is expropriated as stated in Bilateral Investment Treaties to which South Africa is a party.
- Having deliberated on the input received during the Constitutional Dialogue on Land Ownership workshop and the briefing by the DTI and also taking into account work done by the Constitutional Review Committee and the Ad Hoc Committee established by the Fifth Parliament, the Committee requested Parliamentary Legal Services to draft a bill for the Committee’s consideration. On 3 December 2019, the Parliamentary Legal Services briefed the Committee on a Draft Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill. The committee deliberated on this draft and resolved that members will take the draft to their various parties for consideration. The Committee further deliberated on the Draft Bill on 5 December 2019.
- The purpose of the Draft Constitution Eighteenth Amendment 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 ad hoc committee agreed to the Draft Bill with the intention of publishing it in the Government Gazette in accordance with the Constitution and Rules 274(1)(c) and 275(a) of the National Assembly Rules, 9th Edition. Furthermore, the committee agreed to advertise the Bill by no later than 13 December and to also advertise the bill in various newspapers in January 2020. This will allow the Committee to engage on further processes on the Bill.
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