Cedric Frolick. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON / BUSINESS DAY
Cedric Frolick. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON / BUSINESS DAY

Parliament’s ad hoc committee tasked with looking into the controversial issue of land expropriation will consider various reports on the matter, including one by former president Kgalema Motlanthe which suggested that amending the constitution was not necessary.

But this is unlikely to sway the outcome of the process as MPs mainly from the ANC and EFF are dead set on amending the constitution to make it clear how land can be expropriated without compensation. Their determination flies in the face of concerns that the amendment will rattle investors, threaten food security and negatively affect economic activity and job creation.

With parliament rushing to conclude the matter by March 2020, Motlanthe’s report was largely ignored by previous committees which dealt with the proposed amendment to the constitution.

In 2018, Motlanthe proposed that, instead of amending the constitution, the government use expropriation powers currently available more boldly.

Motlanthe’s panel also found that a lack of leadership and policy direction, corruption and inadequate budgets were to blame for SA’s failed land reform. The budget for land reform is less than 0.4% of the national budget. Of this, less than 0.1% is set aside for land redistribution.

In a media briefing on Wednesday, house chairperson Cedric Frolick said the committee will consider all official reports on the matter. These include reports of the joint constitutional review committee; the report of the fifth parliament’s ad hoc committee on the amendment of section 25; the high-level panel report by Motlanthe; and the report of the presidential advisory panel on land reform and agriculture.

The previous parliament, whose five-year term ended in May 2019, agreed to establish a multiparty ad hoc committee to initiate and introduce legislation amending section 25 of the constitution. However, the committee could not complete its task by the time parliament was dissolved and it was recommended that the sixth parliament conclude the matter.

The decision to establish the ad hoc committee followed parliament’s December 2018 adoption of the report of the constitutional review committee on the review of section 25.


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