Section 25: Public to be deprived of proper engagement – Annelie Lotriet

DA MP says public participation over festive period amounts to depriving public of proper consultation

The public will once again be deprived of a proper opportunity to engage with the proposed Section 25 Amendment Bill

5 December 2019

Parliament’s Ad Hoc Committee to Amend Section 25 of the Constitution met on Thursday to discuss the way forward with regards to the public participation in this process and any inputs with regard to the proposed Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has made clear our views on this process – we remain opposed to expropriation without compensation as a general point of departure. We remain firm in our view that Section 25 is not an impediment to meaningful land reform, but rather that the lack of political will has been the central problem.

The proposed amendments in the Bill will allow national legislation to set out specific circumstances where a court may determine that the amount of compensation is nil. This is highly problematic and vague as legislation can determine any circumstances which will only need a simple majority of Parliament to pass it. The circumstances will not be included in the Constitution. The DA is diametrically opposed to this amendment without a clear indication.

We further hold the view that inviting public participation in legislation of this magnitude over the festive period amounts to depriving the public of a proper opportunity to engage with the proposed legislation.

Despite the DA’s objection to this timeframe the Bill will now be Gazetted in December 2019. It is clear that time, which was arbitrarily decided on, trumps the interest of the citizens of this country.

The DA will continue to fight for the protection of the Bill of Rights in the Constitution and will not accede to political expedience of the ANC.

Issued by Annelie Lotriet, Chairperson of the DA Parliamentary Caucus, 5 December 2019