Parliament’s Ad Hoc Committee to Initiate and Introduce Legislation Amending Section 25 of the Constitution (to allow for expropriation without compensation) anticipates finalising a draft bill by the end of next month.

Publication of the draft bill early in December would be followed by a process of ‘public participation’, which would go on until February next year.

Committee chairperson Dr Mathole Motshekga said the first step would be a two-day workshop, on 6 and 7 November, involving ‘experts on the question of land and constitutional matters’. The aim of the workshop ‘is to have a constitutional dialogue on land ownership’. The committee would consider inviting a senior judge to chair the workshop ‘in order to ensure fairness’. The list of experts to be included in the workshop was still be finalised.

In a statement, the committee said it ‘envisions (having) a draft Bill on 27 November and have several sessions for deliberations by Members of Parliament’.

‘The Bill is likely to be published in the Government Gazette on 10 December 2019, after which, a public awareness drive will start. The official call for public comments is expected to come to an end on 27 January 2020. According to the current framework, the committee is expected to have public hearings in February 2020.’

The statement quotes Motshekga as saying: ‘Public participation is a constitutional imperative. We 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. The committee wants to give everyone an opportunity to give an input, even those who have a different view. We will make sure that the interests of all South Africans are put first as it is not just the interest of a section of the public.’

The committee’s objective was to finalise its recommendations by March next year.