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Deadline for land reform bill extended

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“The initial reports indicate that these could be videos that were sent or spam emails sent to the said address”

The deadline for written submissions regarding the amending of Section 25 of the constitution has been extended for a month, parliament’s ad hoc committee on the issue said yesterday.

Committee chairperson, Dr Mathole Motshekga, said the committee unanimously resolved to extend the deadline to February 29, 2020.

“This is mainly because the Bill was published over the festive season, and members of the public did not have sufficient time to comment meaningfully on the Bill. The initial deadline was January 31, 2020,” the committee said via a statement.

The aim of the Bill is to amend the constitution 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 information 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,” said the committee.

Motshekga said the committee had not made any decision on inputs received thus far on the Bill, and added he wanted to remind all political parties that the door was still open for all to make submissions.

“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 were accessible and available to young people, for example a WhatsApp number, which would be made available as soon as it was set up. The draft programme would also be published once it was adopted.

Public hearings on the amendment 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.

Written submissions must be received by no later than February 29, 2020. Submissions and enquiries must be directed to V Ramaano, 3rd Floor, 90 Plein Street, Cape Town, 8000 or emailed to [email protected]

Copies of the Bill can be

obtained from V Ramaano, on

021 403 3820 or 083 709 8427 or

www.parliament.gov.za

A copy of the draft Bill can be found on:

https://tinyurl.com/yxydm746