Cope and DA to fight on over land amend­ment

The Witness - - NEWS - CLIVE NDOU and NEWS24 • [email protected]­ness.co.za

THE Na­tional Coun­cil of Prov­inces yes­ter­day adopted the Joint Con­sti­tu­tional Re­view Com­mit­tee’s re­port rec­om­mend­ing that the Con­sti­tu­tion should be amended to al­low ex­pro­pri­a­tion with­out com­pen­sa­tion.

Eight of the nine prov­inces voted in favour of adop­tion, with the DA-gov­erned Western Cape the only prov­ince vot­ing against it.

This fol­lows the Na­tional As­sem­bly adopt­ing the re­port on Tues­day and means the mat­ter is now a duly adopted res­o­lu­tion of Par­lia­ment, paving the way for an ad hoc com­mit­tee to start draft­ing an amend­ment to sec­tion 25 of the Con­sti­tu­tion.

How­ever, the Congress of the Peo­ple (Cope) is con­sid­er­ing ap­proach­ing the courts to chal­lenge the de­ci­sion.

“We will def­i­nitely take the mat­ter fur­ther should the ANC go ahead with its plans ... de­spite ob­jec­tions from this coun­try’s cit­i­zens,” said Cope MP Dei­dre Carter.

In the Na­tional As­sem­bly, the ANC, EFF and UDM voted in favour of the re­port while Cope and other op­po­si­tion par­ties re­jected the doc­u­ment that was drafted by the com­mit­tee fol­low­ing pub­lic hear­ings and writ­ten sub­mis­sions.

Carter, who hails from Pi­eter­mar­itzburg, said pro­cesses lead­ing up to the draft­ing of the re­port were flawed.

“The com­mit­tee ig­nored thou­sands of sub­mis­sions made by cit­i­zens, the ma­jor­ity of whom were op­posed to the pro­posal to amend the con­sti­tu­tion.

“Fur­ther, mem­bers of the com­mit­tee were not given an op­por­tu­nity to ex­press their views dur­ing the draft­ing of the re­port. Our po­si­tion as Cope is that the re­port is noth­ing but an ANC elec­tions cam­paign game,” she said.

The com­mit­tee re­ceived 449 552 writ­ten sub­mis­sions, the bulk of which were made up of e-mail and What­sApp sub­mis­sions.

The com­mit­tee had also con­ducted 33 pub­lic hear­ings across the coun­try, with each meet­ing hav­ing been at­tended by an av­er­age of 80 peo­ple.

While ANC MP Stan Maila, who co-chaired the com­mit­tee, did not deny that the ma­jor­ity of writ­ten sub­mis­sions were op­posed to the pro­posal, he said the com­mit­tee was sat­is­fied that the ma­jor­ity of South Africans were in favour.

“Is the pro­duc­tion of a com­puter-gen­er­ated tem­plate — de­signed by one per­son, pop­u­lat­ing the tem­plate with his views and then al­low­ing other peo­ple to fac­tor in their names and con­tact num­bers — to be re­ferred to as mean­ing­ful pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion?”

Maila said it would be wrong to rely solely on the views of those who made writ­ten sub­mis­sions when con­sid­er­ing a mat­ter of na­tional im­por­tance.

“Any­one who makes an over-em­pha­sis on num­bers would be grossly out of or­der,” he said.

To amend the Con­si­tu­tion, two thirds of Par­lia­ment’s 400 MPs must vote in favour. The ANC, EFF and UDM, who jointly sup­port the amend­ment, col­lec­tively have more than two thirds rep­re­sen­ta­tion in Par­lia­ment.

The DA has also in­di­cated it will be ini­ti­at­ing le­gal ac­tion chal­leng­ing the com­mit­tee’s pro­cesses.

Farm­ing union AgriSA said in a state­ment yes­ter­day it will “con­tinue to pur­sue all cred­i­ble av­enues to pro­tect the in­ter­ests of farm­ers and farm­ing com­mu­ni­ties, in­clud­ing chal­leng­ing an amend­ment of sec­tion 25 in court”.

It said in a state­ment that “there is time and le­gal reme­dies re­main­ing to halt an amend­ment”.

The Na­tional As­sem­bly will de­bate a mo­tion to­day to task a com­mit­tee to draft the word­ing of the amend­ment.

“The com­mit­tee ig­nored thou­sands of sub­mis­sions made by cit­i­zens, the ma­jor­ity of whom were op­posed to the pro­posal to amend the con­sti­tu­tion. Our po­si­tion as Cope is that the re­port is noth­ing but an ANC elec­tions cam­paign game.”

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