Committee at odds over high-level panel
PARLIAMENTARIANS in the committee responsible for the expropriation of land without compensation are at odds with one another on whether to invite a panel chaired by former president Kgalema Motlanthe.
The high-level panel that Motlanthe led has made a number of recommendations, including on land reform.
Yesterday, some of the members of the constitutional review committee said they wanted Motlanthe and his panel to make a presentation on the land expropriation issue.
Motlanthe said in the report that the government had not effectively expropriated land in the past 20 years because it had not judicially interpreted the law.
He also called for the repeal of the Ingonyama Trust, which caused a huge debate in the country and forced the ANC to assure King Goodwill Zwelithini that the trust would not be repealed.
ANC MPs said it would be premature to invite the panel, and if other MPs wanted their views they must read the report.
Steve Swart of the African Christian Democratic Party said the panel was the key as it had conducted extensive public hearings on land issues.
“As far as the high-level panel is concerned, we must consider it. That report is 250 pages long and there were extensive public hearings. We can learn from that,” said Swart.
Corné Mulder of the Freedom Front Plus also said it would be useful to invite the panel to make presentations to MPs.
He said that during their public hearings, many people referred to its report on land reform.
Glynnis Breytenbach of the DA dismissed claims by ANC members that the panel’s report had no status.
She said it was a report commissioned by Parliament and provincial legislatures.
“The suggestion that the high-level panel has no status is misplaced. There are many committees of Parliament that are discussing the high-level report,” said Breytenbach.
The co-chairperson of the committee, Lewis Nzimande, said he did not think they needed to invite the panel to make a presentation before them.
But Breytenbach objected to his suggestion and said the panel was key to land reform matters.
“This committee is busy with a serious process and it must be dealt with serious consideration. I am referring to the high-level panel. If we want to invite anyone, including the high-level panel, we are entitled to do so,” said Breytenbach.
However, Nzimande said the matter was not on the committee’s agenda.
“I have said the matter is not on the table unless the committee has taken a decision,” said Nzimande.
Swart said the panel and the Valuer-General must be invited to make presentations to the committee.
He said the two bodies were crucial in the land reform matter.
Nzimande agreed that this matter would be discussed at the next meeting, and that a decision would be taken on whether to invite the panel and Valuer-General.
MPs are divided over whether to invite the high level panel on land reform led by former president Kgalema Motlanthe to give a presentation in Parliament. | Simphiwe Mbokazi African News Agency (ANA)