On Thursday, Parliament’s Joint Constitutional Review Committee adopted a report which recommends that Section 25 of the Constitution be amended to allow for land to be expropriated without compensation.
To date, 17 amendments have been implemented on the South African constitution. But the call to amend section 25 of the constitution, is unprecedented. It is the first of its kind to Chapter two – the Bill of Rights.
The process will take a while, as there are numerous steps that must be followed, before such an amendment can be passed.
Making amends to the constitution is a process informed by the constitution and the rules of parliament. This is according to constitutional expert and Director at the Centre for Constitutional Rights, Phephelani Dube.
“The process is governed by the constitution as well as the rules of parliament. At the moment we have seen the process play out in the National Assembly – and the process began in February, when the EFF together with the ANC tabled a resolution to amend section 25 and the resolution was voted by a simple majority.”
After the tabled resolution was passed in the National Assembly, the Joint Constitutional Review Committee then embarked on a drive to hear the views of the public on the proposed matter. This process involved people from different communities in all nine provinces submitting their comments on the proposal.
Dube says the consultation with the public is required by the constitution.
“This public participation element is in line with the constitution because the constitution says that it is important for individuals to take part in South Africa’s democracy.”
Sub-section 59 of the constitution speaks on this issue of public access to parliamentary processes, together with section 74, which sets out all the necessary steps that need to be followed to implement an amendment to the South African constitution.
Listen to Phephelani Dube explain the process of amending a section of the constitution:
Dube believes the process will take a while to conclude, and has stated that there is no guarantee that the amendments will be implemented. She says after the bill has been drafted, it will then be published in the government gazzette and other parliamentary processes will be followed, culminating in the president signing it into law.
See infographic below: