Statement of the joint constitutional review committee tasked with the review of section 25 of the Constitution
Earlier this year, the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces resolved to mandate the Joint Constitutional Review Committee to review section 25 of the Constitution - which speaks to the right of property ownership.
The Joint Constitutional Review Committee then resolved to call for written public submissions on the review of section 25 of the Constitution and other sections where necessary, to make it possible for the state to expropriate land in the public interest without compensation. It further extended the closing date for written submissions from 31 May 2018 to 15 June 2018.
By the closing date for written submission on 15 June 2018, the committee received more than 700 000 electronic and hard copy submission forms from the public.
Due to the extraordinarily huge volume of submissions, and the importance of ensuring that each and every submission from the public is given deserved consideration by Parliament, the committee is in the process of augmenting its internal capacity by procuring a service provider to assist with analyzing the submissions. One of the requirements for the service provider will be that a receipt of submissions is acknowledged mainly through emails, SMSes and any other way possible. Proof of this will be kept for further reference. The committee resolved that only clearly identifiable submissions that can be traced back to a name, cellphone number or email address, will be considered.
If the author of the submission cannot be identified, it will not be accepted as a legitimate submission.
A final draft of the report is expected to be submitted by 3 August, by which date the committee would have concluded its public hearings in the provinces and heading back to Parliament to continue its work.
The public hearings, which are scheduled to kickoff this week in the Limpopo and Northern Cape provinces on 26 and 27 June 2018, must be regarded as an opportunity to build a more just and equitable South Africa in which we must make full and effective use of the resources at our disposal.
It is therefore imperative that, instead of some viewing the hearings on land expropriation as a threat to their livelihoods, they must take advantage of the process as a right everyone enjoys under the Constitution to express their views in order to build a just, fair and inclusive society. Our main objective remains to ensure that as many citizens as possible are provided with an opportunity to raise their views in the interest of participatory democracy.
To ensure that all the nine provinces of our country are covered within the stipulated period, the committee will divide itself into two teams - which will work concurrently in various areas. This teams are scheduled to conclude their programme on 4 August 2018 with the final public hearings in the Western Cape Province.
Once the committee returns to Parliament in Cape Town, public hearings are expected to be held over 10 days, until 17 August 2018, with individuals or organizations who have made written submissions and have, in addition, requested to do oral submissions. During September, the committee will deliberate on its draft report before tabling its recommendations to the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces.
Public participation is the lifeblood of our Constitutional democracy. In this regard, the Joint Committee once again wishes to assure all South Africans that we are determined to conduct the public hearings in a manner that is consistent with our Constitution and enhances the rights of citizens to participate in Parliament's decision-making processes.
The committee reassures the nation that the process will be done in a manner protected both by the laws of our country and the Constitution.
The comprehensive programme for the public hearings is available on the parliamentary website on www.parliament.gov.za ( https://tinyurl.com/yb9yvalx.)
To ensure that the greatest majority of South Africans participate in these hearings, they will be carried live on Parliament TV either through delayed or live broadcasts.
To arrange media interviews with the Co-Chairpersons of the Joint Standing Committee, Mr Vincent Smith and Lewis Nzimande, please contact Rajaa Azzakani on 081 703 9542
Issued by: Parliament of South Africa