Cope and DA to fight on over land amendment
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.”