The deadline is looming for the ad hoc committee amending Section 25 of the Constitution, to allow for expropriation without compensation, but the ANC and EFF still have to “find one another” on a proposed amendment.
The committee ceases to exist at midnight on Monday and, if it fails to produce a report for the National Assembly, it will have to be re-established.
The ANC needs the votes of the EFF to pass an amendment. The EFF proposes a more comprehensive amendment than the ANC.
At the committee’s meeting last week, chairperson Mathole Motshekga asked parties to hold bilateral meetings to find common ground on the form of the amendment.
At Friday’s meeting, ANC MP Cyril Xaba said, in their meeting with the DA, the DA did not appear to review their stance that the Constitution shouldn’t be amended.
There are also still some differences between the EFF and the ANC.
EFF chief whip Floyd Shivambu said they had two meetings with the ANC, and there were some areas where they found agreement and some where they haven’t.
The original amendment bill made provision for the courts to determine the amount of compensation to be paid, including nil compensation as a point of departure.
The ANC proposes to change this provision, so the courts will only be involved if there is a dispute between the state and the owner of the expropriated property.
The EFF’s proposed amendment has no role for the courts. Furthermore, the EFF proposes that the state should be the custodian of all land.
Shivambu said there is a difference between state custodianship and nationalisation of land.
“Nationalisation means the state can change user rights as and when it pleases because it will be owning the land fully,” he said, adding: “But custodianship says that it is holding [the land] on behalf of the people. And once it gives land for use purposes, there must be clear principles that guarantee security of tenure, with clear principles on how you repossess if what the land was given for is not utilised meaningfully.”
He said the purpose of custodianship is to give the state space to play a more equitable redistributive role.
The DA, FF Plus and ACDP didn’t provide any proposed amendments, as they are opposed to amending Section 25 of the Constitution.
Motshekga said the committee will meet again on Monday morning.
The parties, who need to conclude their bilateral meetings, need to “find one another” by Sunday noon.
He instructed the committee’s staff to start compiling a report, which the committee will tackle on Monday.
At the start of the meeting, Motshekga referred to Shivambu’s comments at the previous meeting, where he alleged, without providing any proof, that Parliament’s legal services have been “infiltrated” to serve a right-wing agenda and subvert the process.
Shivambu’s comments were also condemned by all parties who participated in Thursday’s National Assembly Programming Committee meeting, except the EFF.
Shivambu repeated his claims at this meeting, again without proof, and said he would send a letter to substantiate his allegations to National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise.
Despite Motshekga’s request for the committee to stick to its work, Shivambu repeated his allegations, again without proof.
Shivambu claims legal services are trying to subvert the process. However, as some members pointed out, the committee requested an opinion from legal services.
Motshekga and other MPs on the committee did not approve of Shivambu’s statements.
The legal question was whether the committee is allowed to amend the whole of Section 25 or only the subsections that were amended in the draft amendment bill sent out for public comment.
Legal services advised that they could work on the whole section, but should err on the side of caution and first obtain approval from the National Assembly.
The committee decided to not follow this advice.