Draft program adopted for amending constitution to facilitate land reform in S. Africa

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, October 25, 2019
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CAPE TOWN, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) -- South Africa's parliamentary ad hoc committee on amending Constitution for land reform adopted its draft framework program on Friday on how it will conduct its work.

According to the draft program, the committee plans to present a draft bill on November 27 and hold several sessions for deliberations by Members of Parliament.

The bill is likely to be published in the Government Gazette on December 10 after which, a public awareness drive will start.

The official call for public comments is expected to come to an end on January 27 next year.

The committee is proposing to hold a two-day workshop on November 6 and 7 with experts on the question of land and constitutional matters, committee chairperson Mathole Motshekga said.

The aim of the workshop is to have a constitutional dialogue on land ownership, said Motshekga.

He said the committee will consider the invitation of a senior judge to chair the workshop in order to ensure fairness.

Public participation is a constitutional imperative, Motshekga said, adding that this will ensure that there is sufficient public participation.

"We will put the interests of South Africans first and we want to ensure that all South Africans participate," Motshekga said.

The committee wants to give everyone an opportunity to give an input, even those who have a different view, said Motshekga.

The program is a framework at this stage and can be changed as the committee deems fit, he said.

The committee intends to finalize the program at the end of March 2020, Motshekga said.

The committee has been tasked with amending section 25 of the Constitution to make explicit that expropriation of land without compensation is a legitimate option for land reform so as to address the historic wrongs caused by arbitrary dispossession of land, and in so doing ensure equitable access to land and further empower the majority of South Africans to be productive participants in ownership, food security and agricultural reform programs.

South Africa's land reform, characterized by land expropriation without compensation, has drawn ire from opponents, who argue that the process will drive away white farmers, threaten food security and negatively impact the economy.

The government has repeatedly assured that it will pursue the reform without destabilizing the agricultural sector, endangering food security in the country, or undermining economic growth and job creation. Enditem

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