The Ad Hoc Committee to Initiate and Introduce Legislation Amending Section 25 of the Constitution, tasked with drafting amendments that will see the expropriation of land without compensation, today adopted the committee report on public participation.
Committee Chairperson Dr Mathole Motshekga said this now clears the way for the committee to start engaging and deliberating on the "wording and format" of the 18th Constitutional Amendment Bill.
"With the report being adopted, the real work of what should be contained in the Bill and the way it is formulated starts now. From the outset, all members of the committee departed from the premise that our parliamentary system is a representative and participatory system, and that public representatives do not have the monopoly of wisdom and must therefore involve the public in all legislative processes. This means public participation is a constitutional imperative. In its work, the committee was guided by the Constitutional Court decisions and the rules of Parliament."
Dr Motshekga said this process started with a consultative workshop that included all stakeholders and interested parties. The draft Bill was agreed to by all parties as a point of departure for public hearings. He said that despite the interruptions caused by the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, the committee conducted successful public hearings in all nine provinces. An opportunity was further given to those who requested in written submissions to elaborate further during oral presentations to amplify their submissions. Ministers were also given an opportunity to make inputs on behalf of departments.
He further stated that the adoption of this report now opens the door for the committee to begin with the consideration of the Bill based on all the inputs.
"The committee resolved to give members until early May to consult within their political parties on the Bill and the report, before deliberations on the text of the Bill starts. This will give us sufficient time to conclude the work of his committee by 21 May 2021," said Dr Motshekga.