South Africa: Land - Mathole Motshekga Elected Chairperson of Committee That Will Amend Section 25

5 September 2019

After a false start the day before, the ad hoc committee that will amend Section 25 of the Constitution to allow expropriation without compensation elected Mathole Motshekga as its chairperson on Thursday.

According to a statement, Motshekga was unanimously elected as the chairperson of the ad hoc committee to initiate and introduce legislation amending Section 25 of the Constitution, as it is officially known.

He said the process was a great step in the deepening of South Africa's hard-won democracy.

"Given the deepening moral degeneration and social ills that are exacerbated by the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality, the establishment of this ad hoc committee will send a strong message to all our people and the world that the government's resolve to address the original sin is fully embraced by this democratic institution."

Motshekga assured the public the committee would receive and give equal weight to all submissions, and ensure it would complete its work within the prescribed time frames.

"We shall ensure that at all material times we shall put the interests of South Africa and her people, and her economic well-being on top of our agenda," he said.

Motshekga is also one of the chairpersons of the joint constitutional review committee. He was the chairperson of the portfolio committee on justice and correctional services in the fifth Parliament and previously served as ANC chief whip.

The committee will meet next week to discuss its programme.

On Wednesday, it was due to elect a chairperson, but did not have a quorum and postponed the meeting.

Last year, Parliament adopted a report by the constitutional review committee recommending the Constitution should be amended so section 25 made "explicit that which is implicit in the Constitution, with regards to expropriation of land without compensation, as a legitimate option for land reform, so as to address the historic wrongs caused by the arbitrary dispossession of land, and in so doing ensure equitable access to land and further empower the majority of South Africans to be productive participants in ownership, food security and agricultural reform programmes".

On July 25, the National Assembly adopted a motion to establish the committee.

The deadline for the committee to report back to the National Assembly is March 31, 2020.

Source: News24

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