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The parliamentary committee tasked to amend the Constitution to allow land expropriation without compensation decided on Wednesday to discard the revised bill compiled after the public made comments.
This was after the members were last Friday granted an opportunity to consult their parties until yesterday.
The consultation of parties was made after the parliamentary staff spent hours sifting through thousands of written submissions and then compiled a report and parliamentary services drafted a third bill the public commented on in writing.
The third draft bill would have required the committee to seek a mandate from the National Assembly to extend the scope of their work and again their lifespan after the last one was extended to last Monday.
If the extensions were to be granted, the bill would have required the committee to subject it to a further consultative process involving the departments, legislatures and the National House of Traditional and Khoisan Leaders for a further 60 days.
The discarded bill moved the 1913 restitution deadline to January 1800 and did away with state custodian of expropriated land.
In a statement, committee chairperson Mathole Motshekga said the committee agreed to discuss the second bill that was initially sent out for public comment, not the third version.
“As the second version of the bill has already gone out for public engagement and the public had an opportunity to make inputs, no further advertising is necessary.
“The majority of members of the committee agreed to rather not work on the third draft of the bill that included some substantial proposed amendments, which would have required further public participation,” he said.
A report tabled to the committee said there were 148 891 written submissions that were received when the public was asked to make written submissions on the second draft bill.
“A substantial number either did not relate to the bill or were duplicate submissions submitted to the Constitutional Review Committee in 2018 or not relevant to the current process,” Motshekga said.
He also said the contentious submissions in the third version that called for the cut-off date for land restitution claims to be changed from 1913 to 1800 were excluded.
“Deliberations today included removal of the clause “and any improvements thereon” with reference to improvements made on land that are to be expropriated.
“The majority of the members also agreed that communal land is not under threat of expropriation, as it is generally classified as ‘state land’.”
Motshekga said the committee had instructed the parliamentary legal services to “clean” up the second draft bill.
“By Friday, the committee should be able to have a cleaned up copy. The committee will then adopt the bill by going clause by clause,” he said.
“Furthermore, once adopted the committee will give the support staff an opportunity to prepare a report on the bill for consideration and adoption,” Motshekga added.
The committee has until September 10 to complete its mandate after it made two previous requests for extension of its term.