Though there has been a decline in public participation on the proposed amendment of the constitution to make it easier for the state to expropriate land without compensation, a majority of participants still oppose the amendment, according to an analysis by an NGO.
The land expropriation issue has polarised the country and spooked investors.
Parliament’s ad hoc committee looking into the matter has published the draft bill to amend section 25 to allow for expropriation without compensation. It aims to tackle skewed land ownership patterns dating back to the apartheid and colonial eras. The ad hoc committee is holding oral public hearings across the country.
According to the NGO, Dear South Africa, which has been facilitating public participation, input from the “in favour” camp has significantly decreased while the “opposed” group has grown. Of the 190,573 who participated in the latest round of public hearings via written submissions, 171,655 (90%) oppose the amendment, 14,870 support it and 4,048 support it partially.
“Though we have seen a concerning overall decline in public participation in this third round, we do note an increase in opposition to the constitutional amendment,” said DearSA MD Rob Hutchinson.
“In the first round in June 2018, we received over 100,000 public comments in favour of amending the constitution — 44% of the total participants. This latest third round has seen only 14,870 (8%) directly supporting the amendment,” Hutchinson said.
The ANC recently proposed a drastic change shifting the arbitration powers from the courts to the executive in terms of compensation to be paid. The ANC’s Mathole Motshekga, who chairs parliament’s ad hoc committee on land reform, said in January that if the courts are to determine compensation “it will take another 25 or 50 years to sort out land reform”.
The ad hoc committee will return the bill to the National Assembly after considering all the public input. The members of the National Assembly will then vote on the proposed constitutional amendment. If passed, the bill will then be brought before the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) for concurrence.
article by Business Day