DO SA's MPs DO THEIR HOMEWORK?
Updated: Dec 12, 2020
The Parliamentary Monitoring Group audio clip of a National Assembly Public Works & Infrastructure Committee meeting on the recently tabled revised Expropriation Bill has revealed how ill-prepared most members were for a briefing from support staff on the procedures to be followed in processing new legislation. Some acknowledged as much, blaming their status as 'first-time' MPs for gaps in their understanding of the issues concerned. Yet more than a year has passed since they were elected.
Most worrying, however, was a remark from the EFF's Annacleta Siwisa, who believes the Bill will 'counteract' an imminent amendment to section 25 of the Constitution (property rights) - allowing land to be expropriated for nil compensation in circumstances proposed in clause 12 of the Expropriation Bill. This points to the possibility of a widespread perception among land-hungry South African citizens that land redistribution by way of expropriation without compensation will proceed as soon as the amendment has been enacted and proclaimed.
It is not clear what, if anything, has been done to explain these matters and their implications at grassroots level. Have unrealistic expectations been raised? If so, how will they be managed? It is likely to be at least six months (probably far longer) before the Expropriation Bill is passed by Parliament, enacted and proclaimed. It is the law of general application required to implement framework legislation provided by way of an amendment to the Constitution's section 25. This appears not to have been adequately communicated to 'ordinary' South Africans.