Com­mit­tee at odds over high-level panel

Cape Argus - - NATION - SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI siyabonga.mkhwanazi@inl.co.za

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)

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