MPs seek help with land sub­mis­sions

Sunday Times - - News | Standoff - By ANDISIWE MAKINANA

● Par­lia­ment is get­ting ex­ter­nal help to as­sist with pro­cess­ing close to a mil­lion writ­ten sub­mis­sions on the is­sue of ex­pro­pri­a­tion of land with­out com­pen­sa­tion.

This is ac­cord­ing to Vin­cent Smith, a se­nior ANC MP and chair­man of the con­sti­tu­tional re­view com­mit­tee, which has been man­dated to re­view sec­tion 25 of the con­sti­tu­tion, which deals with prop­erty.

Smith said the win­ner of the con­tract would be tasked with ac­knowl­edg­ing re­ceipt of all sub­mis­sions, analysing the con­tent and cat­e­goris­ing the sub­mis­sions ac­cord­ing to those who sup­port or op­pose the is­sue.

The con­tract was due to be awarded on Fri­day but its value is not yet known.

This is a de­par­ture from how par­lia­ment usu­ally pro­cesses leg­is­la­tion, as MPs nor­mally deal with pub­lic sub­mis­sions with as­sis­tance from full-time par­lia­men­tary staff.

“We are not go­ing to have time as MPs to read all . . . of those sub­mis­sions,” said Smith.

“What we said is we need a re­source that will go through each doc­u­ment be­cause [the com­mit­tee staff] will be with us in the field. It was an open ten­der and I was told that peo­ple have re­sponded.”

The writ­ten sub­mis­sions on land are es­ti­mated to have hit the one mil­lion mark as scores of boxes were de­liv­ered to par­lia­ment by var­i­ous in­ter­ested par­ties two Fri­days ago, the dead­line for sub­mis­sions.

The com­mit­tee will be­gin pub­lic hear­ings in Spring­bok in the North­ern Cape on Tues­day, with another one sched­uled for the next day in the Lim­popo town of Mar­ble Hall.

Smith said they were ex­pect­ing a pre­lim­i­nary re­port in early Au­gust from the ser­vice provider, which would help MPs de­cide who to in­vite for oral pre­sen­ta­tions in par­lia­ment as it was not practical to call every­one who had made a writ­ten sub­mis­sion.

Ex­plain­ing this ap­proach dur­ing a com­mit­tee meet­ing on Thurs­day, par­lia­men­tary of­fi­cial Thuli Twalo said some sub­mis­sions were sub­stan­tial, while oth­ers were mere one-lin­ers.

“We also want to know what each sub­mit­ter is say­ing about the re­view or amend­ment of sec­tion 25 of the con­sti­tu­tion,” said Twalo.

“We will have some quan­ti­ta­tive and qual­i­ta­tive in­for­ma­tion as well in that re­port in terms of who are the sub­mit­ters and what are they say­ing.”

African Chris­tian Demo­cratic Party MP Steve Swart noted that while they ap­pre­ci­ated the num­ber of writ­ten sub­mis­sions, leg­is­la­tors were con­sti­tu­tion­ally bound to go through ev­ery sub­mis­sion they had re­ceived.

Swart said MPs would have to find a way of assess­ing the sub­mis­sions de­spite the re­port of the ser­vice provider.

We are not go­ing to have time as MPs to read all of those sub­mis­sions

Vin­cent Smith

Chair­man of par­lia­ment’s con­sti­tu­tional re­view com­mit­tee

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.