President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that the ANC has resolved to amend section 25 of the Constitution to make it possible for the state to expropriate land without compensation will not diminish the work of the joint constitutional review committee, says the committee chairperson.
The committee has been instructed by the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces to ascertain whether a review of this law and other clauses will be necessary. The amendment makes it possible for the state to expropriate land in the public interest without compensation, and propose the necessary constitutional amendments where necessary.
The committee held public hearings on a possible amendment of the section in Oudtshoorn and Beaufort West on Thursday.
Committee co-chairperson Vincent Smith said Ramaphosa’s announcement on Tuesday would in no way take away from the work of the committee because different political parties had made resolutions and pronouncements on the matter.
Smith said South Africans were coming out in their numbers and had clearly and concisely voiced their opinions on the issue.
“The input was structured in such a way to take the work of the committee forward.”
Smith commended the public for the spirit in which the hearings around the country had been taking place.
“Although this is a very emotive issue, South Africans have given each other an opportunity to have their say – even when they did not agree. They were extremely tolerant.”
The committee held hearings in all provinces, and will conclude its hearings on Saturday in the Cape Town metro.
Meanwhile, providing clarity on Ramaphosa’s announcement on the ANC’s decision on the matter, the governing party said on Wednesday South Africans would not wake up to “a free for all” situation after the amendment.
Ronald Lamola, member of the ANC national executive committee (NEC) and tasked with matters of land reform, said it was a “myth” that land would become freely available in South Africa.
“It is not true that you will wake up tomorrow and all land which will be in the hands of the state will be available for free to everyone,” said Lamola. “It does not mean all South Africans will wake up and have land.
“There will still be a need for legislation as to how we’re going to distribute land. It doesn’t mean that everyone will walk into free land, it is not free,” he told the media in Johannesburg following the governing party’s two-day lekgotla in Irene, Pretoria.