The South African National Assembly (NA) agreed on Thursday to establish an ad hoc committee to initiate and introduce legislation for amending the Constitution to allow land expropriation without compensation.
The committee will report to the NA, or Lower House of Parliament, by March 31, 2019 on its work of initiating and introducing the necessary legislation for amending section 25 of the Constitution so that expropriation of land without compensation is made explicit, as a legitimate option for land reform, NA spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said.
The committee would comprise 11 voting members of the NA and 14 non-voting members from different political parties, said Mothapo.
In carrying out its work and performing its functions, the ad hoc committee would be guided by the Constitution, legislation, NA resolutions and rules, according to Mothabo.
The NA's decision to establish the committee came after both the NA and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), or Upper House of Parliament, approved a report submitted last month by Parliament's Joint Constitutional Review Committee (JCRC) which recommends that section 25 of the Constitution be amended to make it explicitly clear that expropriation of land without compensation by the state in the public interest should be one mechanism to address the injustices of the past, inflicted on the majority of South Africans.
The approval by both the NA and NCOP made the matter a duly adopted resolution of Parliament, Mothabo said.
It also makes it possible for a bill to be introduced according to the procedures in Section 74 of the Constitution and the Rules of Parliament, he said.
Details of the bill would have to be published in the Government Gazette at least 30 days before it is introduced. This is to allow for public comment.
In a related development, a number of civil organizations, businesses and political parties launched a campaign against the ongoing land reform process, saying land expropriation without compensation would trample upon property rights.
They gathered for a summit in Centurion near Johannesburg on Wednesday, vowing to fight for property rights to the very end.
The government has repeatedly assured that it will pursue the land reform without destabilizing the agricultural sector, endangering food security in the country, or undermining economic growth and job creation.