Section 25: Re-establishment of committee welcomed – EFF

Fighters say it is worth noting racial divide in voting process with those representing white interests voting against it

EFF statement on the re-establishment of the Ad Hoc Committee to introduce legislation amending Section 25 of the Constitution

1 July 2020

The Economic Freedom Fighters notes and welcomes the decision taken by the National Assembly yesterday to re-establish the Ad Hoc Committee to initiate and introduce legislation amending Section 25 of the Constitution, the so-called property clause, to make it constitutionally permissible to expropriate land without compensation.

We would also like to extend our gratitude to all the parties that voted for the re-establishment of this committee, and it is also worth noting the racial divide in the voting process.

Almost all parties explicitly representing white interests voted against the re-establishment of the committee. Forced land dispossession took place on the basis of race. It is not surprising, therefore, that white parties with the backing of a religious sect, coalesced against the motion.

We applaud the repertoire of action and unity of Africans in Parliament today, who, despite ideological differences, recognized that we are all bound together by the peculiarity of our history of land dispossession and by the peculiarity of our present landlessness.

It is again not surprising, that, the parties that voted in favour of the motion are overwhelmingly black in composition and affirm a strong race and national consciousness in how they voted.

These parties have affirmed the centrality of land demand and a growing hegemony of the land question as a compelling force in the post-democratic political dispensation in this country. It further demonstrates the undisputable land hunger amongst Africans and black people in general and that any delays will not be tolerated further. This far no further.

There is no doubt that it is the work of the EFF that brought the country to this moment through the unfolding demand for the expropriation of land without compensation, that it had a notable impact on the growing consciousness and thinking around the land in South Africa.

The EFF introduced a motion for land expropriation without compensation in Parliament on the 27th of February 2018. That motion instructed the Joint Constitutional Review Committee to conduct a thorough review of Section 25 of the Constitution and to make recommendations on the amendments needed to make expropriation of land legally permissible.

The Constitutional Review Committee submitted its report to Parliament on the 15th of November 2018, and on the 4th and 5th of December, the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces adopted the report of the Constitutional Review Committee.

That report concluded that there is an urgent need to amend Section 25 of the Constitution to make expropriation of land without compensation permissible, and it tasked Parliament to establish a committee to introduce a Constitutional Amendment Bill, as per the provisions of Section 74 of the Constitution.

The Ad Hoc Committee that was established as a result could not finish its work because of the 2019 elections. When the sixth parliament term commenced, the Ad Hoc Committee was established again in July 2019, and just when it was about to finish nationwide public hearings on the proposed Constitutional Amendment Bill, it was abruptly forced to stop as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We, therefore, welcome the re-establishment of this committee, and we will do all in our power to ensure that the Amendment Bill does not contain cosmetic amendments that would have no impact on the structure of landholding in this country.

We want all stolen land returned back to the control of African people, and this can only be done through state custodianship of the land, under an able and progressive state.

We are looking forward to engaging with all the parties, particularly parties that represent African people, and hopefully, together, we can make this process a meaningful one for the reclamation of stolen land. This is our land, a precious resource and our collective inheritance for which we are prepared to fight for and attain during our lifetime.

Issued by Vuyani Pambo, National Spokesperson, EFF, 30 June 2020