Date set for new prop­erty clause

• Land re­form amend­ment likely to be known by end of that month

Business Day - - Front Page - Bekezela Phakathi Par­lia­men­tary Writer [email protected]­nesslive.co.za

In­vestors who were rat­tled by the gov­ern­ment pro­pos­als to ex­pro­pri­ate land with­out com­pen­sa­tion could know by the end of March 2019 what the re­drafted sec­tion 25 of the con­sti­tu­tion will look like.

In­vestors who were rat­tled by the gov­ern­ment pro­pos­als to ex­pro­pri­ate land with­out com­pen­sa­tion could know by the end of March 2019 what the re­drafted sec­tion 25 of the con­sti­tu­tion will look like.

This week both houses of par­lia­ment — the Na­tional As­sem­bly and the Na­tional Coun­cil of Prov­inces (NCOP) — adopted the con­tentious re­port on ex­pro­pri­a­tion with­out com­pen­sa­tion, which calls for a con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment to make it ex­plicit that ex­pro­pri­a­tion with­out com­pen­sa­tion can be used to ad­dress skewed land own­er­ship pat­terns dat­ing back to the colo­nial era.

On Thurs­day, dur­ing its fi­nal sit­ting of the year, the Na­tional As­sem­bly adopted a draft res­o­lu­tion by ANC chief whip Jack­son Mthembu call­ing for the es­tab­lish­ment of an ad hoc com­mit­tee, which will ini­ti­ate and in­tro­duce leg­is­la­tion amend­ing sec­tion 25 of the con­sti­tu­tion.

The ex­pro­pri­a­tion de­bate has po­larised the coun­try and spooked in­vestors, with the pro­posed amend­ment set to be chal­lenged in court by var­i­ous stake­hold­ers and po­lit­i­cal par­ties. The process to change the con­sti­tu­tion could be stymied pend­ing the con­clu­sion of court pro­cesses, which may end in up in the Con­sti­tu­tional Court.

The mat­ter could even­tu­ally be pro­cessed by the next par­lia­ment, which means the amend­ment might not hap­pen at all if the par­ties back­ing the change fail to se­cure a two-thirds ma­jor­ity among them.

The DA has vowed to chal­lenge in court the “flawed pro­cesses” lead­ing up to the adop­tion of the fi­nal doc­u­ment.

The high court in Cape Town is due to hear an ap­pli­ca­tion by lobby group AfriFo­rum on a date yet to be set. The group wants a declara­tory or­der that the adop­tion of the re­port by the joint con­sti­tu­tional re­view com­mit­tee was un­law­ful and should be set aside. It wants the pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion process re­viewed.

The In­sti­tute of Race Re­la­tions also in­di­cated in Novem­ber that it is pre­par­ing to take le­gal steps to pre­vent the push by the ANC and EFF to amend the con­sti­tu­tion.

The DA and other smaller par­ties ob­jected to the es­tab­lish­ment of the ad hoc com­mit­tee on Thurs­day, but were out­voted. Mthembu said the ANC wants the leg­is­la­ture to process and pass the amend­ment bill be­fore the five-year term of the cur­rent par­lia­ment ends in May, just be­fore the gen­eral elec­tions. This gives the ad hoc com­mit­tee at least four months to con­clude the process. The com­mit­tee, which will con­sist of 11 mem­bers of the Na­tional As­sem­bly, has to re­port to par­lia­ment by March 31 2019, said Mthembu.

Jack­son Mthembu

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