Land reform debate can’t be completed before the 2019 elections: Parliament

The Ad Hoc Committee looking at changing South Africa’s Constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation officially adopted a report on its work on Wednesday (13 March).

Committee chairperson, Thoko Didiza, said that in the report it was resolved that it could not conclude its work in the current term of Parliament.

It further recommended that the sixth Parliament be tasked with finalising the amendment of Section 25 of the Constitution.

This means that the debate surrounding land expropriation without compensation would only continue after the May national elections and a new parliament has been reconvened.

The report was adopted, with the Democratic Alliance and the African Christian Democratic Party both reserving their rights regarding the recommendation of referral to the next Parliament.

Lawmakers in both chambers of parliament – the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces – in December approved a committee report that recommends the amendment to section 25 of the constitution, which protects property rights.

Another parliamentary committee was set up on 12 February to draft a bill needed to make the changes and elected ANC MP Thoko Didiza, who served as agriculture minister from 1999 to 2006, as its chairwoman.

The National Assembly, which adjourns from 22 March until after national elections on 8 May, will on 19 March debate whether her committee should continue its work until the day before the vote, or whether the new parliament should revive the process.

Read: South Africa’s new land expropriation changes – here’s what is coming next

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Land reform debate can’t be completed before the 2019 elections: Parliament