Failure to address land reform is a ticking time bomb: Cosatu

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Labour federation, Cosatu, has told Parliament’s Ad Committee to Amend Section 25 of the Constitution that failure to address land reform is a ticking time bomb that the nation cannot afford.

Cosatu made a submission during virtual public hearings on the 18th Constitution Amendment Bill to amend Section 25 of the Constitution to expropriate land without compensation.

It criticised what it calls ‘populist’ opposition to the bill.

Cosatu Parliamentary Liaison Officer, Matthews Parks, says, “We think that the reaction to the opposition to the bill is not helpful. It’s hysterical. It’s often devoid of facts, to be honest, it’s cheap populism. We think in essence it seeks to preserve the legacies of colonialism and apartheid. It does not provide for a rational debate, where we actually need calm and rational debate, where you actually need calm and rational engagements; not hysteria. And Chair, the alternative to not dealing with land reform is a ticking time bomb, which we cannot afford as a nation. And in fact, that will be unconstitutional, not to deal with land issues.”

Parliament’s currently holding public oral hearings into the proposal to amend Section 25 of the Constitution. This follows a request by the DA to allow oral submissions on the proposed constitutional amendment.

The Ad Hoc Committee handling the matter has received over 200 000 written submissions.

Meanwhile, the Land Reform Department says the Communal Land Tenure Bill is ready to be tabled in parliament for legislative processing. The bill seeks to provide the transfer of communal land to communities by giving ownership of land rights amongst other things.

Briefing the portfolio committee on Agriculture and Land Reform, Acting Director General on Land Tenure Administration, Terries Ndove, says the department is now waiting for the inputs of other stakeholders before the envisaged piece of legislation is brought to parliament.

“In terms of progress, the bill is ready. However, there are a number of consultations that need to be done specifically with the traditional authorities as well as Cogta specifically, before the bill can go further. However, in terms of the commitment of the department, this bill will be tabled in the current financial year.”

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