Parliament has highlighted the government’s pending expropriation without compensation (EWC) and National Health Insurance (NHI) initiatives as elements of its commitment to ‘emulate Tata Madiba by finding a renewed sense of commitment to South Africa and its people’.

This is contained in a statement marking the 30th anniversary of the release of Nelson Mandela from prison in 1990.

Parliament communications manager Moloto Mothapo said in a statement: ‘As we remember the day of his release from prison, Parliament’s Presiding Officers – led by National Assembly Speaker, Ms Thandi Modise, and National Council of Provinces Chairperson, Mr Amos Masondo, urge all to emulate Tata Madiba by finding a renewed sense of commitment to South Africa and its people.’

South Africa was ‘still plagued by poverty and inequality which are exacerbated by the high rate of unemployment amongst certain sections of our society’.

In addressing these things, Parliament ‘is currently engaged in legislative reforms that will, amongst others, widen access to land (Bill to amend Section 25 of the Constitution) and broaden access to health services (the National Health Insurance Bill)’.

Through the NHI, Parliament ‘hopes to ensure that all people receive the health services they need, including health initiatives designed to promote better health and prevent illness’.

On land reform, Mothapo said: ‘After the willing buyer, willing seller principle adopted by the government did not yield the desired results of land redistribution, Parliament approved the establishment of an Ad Hoc Committee to Initiate and Introduce Legislation Amending Section 25 of the Constitution. Among other things, the aim of the Bill is to amend the Constitution to provide that where land and any improvements thereon are expropriated for the purposes of land reform, nil compensation may be payable.’

Mothapo noted that, having been jailed for 27 years, Mandela had, ‘instead of getting back at his jailers by seeking revenge … focused on values that would yield the greater good for all South Africans – including peace, forgiveness, compassion, human dignity, reconciliation, and nation-building’.

The statement quotes Mandela as having said: ‘In prison, my anger towards whites decreased, but my hatred for the system grew. I wanted South Africa to see that I loved even my enemies while I hated the system that turned us against one another.’

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