Dear South Africa, an NGO facilitating public participation, notes a drastic swing in public opinion on the proposed amendment to the constitution catering for expropriation without compensation.

In December 2019, Parliament invited the public to provide written comment by 29 February, on a draft amendment to the Constitution catering for expropriation without compensation. Under South African laws, the government is compelled to grant the public an opportunity to provide an influencing comment on all policy and legislative amendments before implementation. However, such opportunities are often inadequately announced or facilitated, and extracting outcomes information from the government is challenging.

Alongside their 78 other participation campaigns, DearSA has been at the forefront of facilitating public participation by individually delivering over 520,000 public comments to Parliament during this Constitutional Amendment process.

“Although 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,” says Rob Hutchinson, MD of DearSA.

Participation from the “in favour” camp has significantly decreased while the “opposed” crowd has grown. Of the 190,573 who participated in this third round, 171,655 (90%) oppose the amendment, 14,870 support it and 4,048 partially.

“In the first round of 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,” says Hutchinson.

A full report and list of comments is available for download at this link on DearSA’s website.

The Committee is now hosting public hearings during March and April to enable those with limited access to internet or data to provide comment. DearSA will be closely monitoring the hearings to ensure a fair and accurate process is followed.

What will happen after the public hearings?

The AdHoc 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 Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill. If passed, the Bill will then be brought before the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). Once passed, the law will allow for the expropriation of land AND property without compensation.

Objectives of the Bill

Subsection 2 (b); Provides for a court of law to make a decision for nil compensation when land or property is expropriated for land reform.

Subsection 3; Sets out the conditions and circumstances that must be considered when a decision is made by a court regarding the amount of compensation.

Subsection 3A; National legislation must be passed that outlines the circumstances when a court may arrive at nil compensation for expropriated land or property e.g. The Expropriation Bill.

Why is Parliament conducting public hearings again?

Parliament, mandated by the Constitution, must ensure that the public is involved in all its processes, including law-making. To satisfy this mandate, the Ad Hoc Committee is inviting all interested and affected parties, individually and or organised, to participate in the 18th Amendment of the Constitution, as it relates to Section 25.

The Committee will consider all public input on the amendment of the Constitution in order for the NA to pass the Bill.


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