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Bid to move deadline on land claims bill

The Mercury
19 Jul 2018
Siyabonga Mkhwanazi

 PARLIAMENT is hoping President Cyril Ramaphosa will sign the Restitution of Land Rights Bill early next year as it pushes to meet the Constitutional Court’s requirements.

This followed the wrapping up of public hearings by the portfolio committee on rural development and land reform in the nine provinces, to begin reopening land claims. The claims were halted by the Constitutional Court in July 2016, after it found the bill did not meet constitutional muster.

ANC whip in the committee Pumzile Mnguni, who introduced the Private Member’s Bill, said yesterday the process would be concluded soon.

He said after finishing the public hearings in the nine provinces they would have a stakeholder consultative meeting in Parliament to tie up the bill’s loose ends.

It would then go to the National Assembly for approval, before it was sent to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). He said that next week they would go to the Constitutional Court to ask for an extension to allow more time for the NCOP to do its work.

“By the end of February, we hope the NCOP will have wrapped up the process. We hope that by March it will have been assented to by Ramaphosa,” said Mnguni.

The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform had also indicated it would not be able to table the bill on time because of other factors.

This would have caused further delays and the Constitutional Court deadline was fast approaching, and Mnguni stepped in and initiated the Private Member’s Bill to allow for the bill to be processed.

However, he said they realised that they would not meet the Constitutional Court deadline this month.

“We will approach the Constitutional Court to request an extension of anything between six to nine months. We will file that before July 27. Within 10 days from today, we will file that request in the Constitutional Court,” said Mnguni.