The Ad Hoc Committee to Initiate and Introduce Legislation Amending Section 25 of the Constitution today resolved to extend the deadline for written submission on the Draft Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill.
Committee Chairperson, Dr Mathole Motshekga, said the committee unanimously resolved to extend the deadline to 29 February 2020. This is mainly because the Bill was published over the festive season, and the public did not have sufficient time to comment meaningfully on the Bill. The initial deadline was tomorrow, 31 January 2020.
The aim of the Bill is to amend the Constitution of South Africa so as to, among other things, provide that where land and any improvements thereon are expropriated for the purposes of land reform, nil compensation may be payable.
Regarding the perception that Parliament was rejecting certain emailed submissions, the committee was told that 46 of the more than 140 000 submissions were rejected on the grounds of infom1ation technology safety filters used by Parliament.
The initial reports indicate that these could be videos that were sent or spam emails sent to the said address. The committee was assured that Parliament is able to track the rejected submissions and the reasons for this. A comprehensive report on this matter will be provided to the Chairperson.
Dr Motshekga clarified that the committee has not made any decision on inputs received thus far on the Bill, and reminded all political parties that the door is still open for all to make submissions to the committee. “We will consider all inputs irrespective of which political party makes the comment. All submissions carry the same weight. It is only after the closing date for written submissions and public hearings that the committee will deliberate and resolve on the matter:
The committee agreed to use platforms that are accessible and available to young people, for example a WhatsApp number, which will be made available as soon as it is set up. The draft programme will also be published once it has been adopted
Dr Motshekga further stated that public hearings will take place in all provinces, predominantly from Fridays to Sundays. The committee will split into two groups. The full committee will also hold public hearings at Parliament.