Parliament can start process of amending the Constitution: Mothapo

A picture of the National Assembly in Parliament
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Parliament says it can start the process of amending the Constitution. It’s now been directed to do so by both the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).

This comes as the NCOP on Wednesday voted in favour of amending Section 25 of the Constitution, which makes the expropriation of land without compensation more explicit.

Section 25 of the Constitution is located in the Bill of Rights, which requires a two-thirds majority vote by members of Parliament.

But even before it gets to that point, it needs to go through a thorough process at committee level.

At this stage, it’s unclear whether the amendment process will automatically fall under the Justice Committee or if an ad-hoc committee will be instituted to deal with it.

For now, the process needs to be kick-started by the National Assembly, which will determine the vehicle through which the bill will move.

What is important to note, is that another leg of public consultation will be a key feature in dealing with the bill.

Parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo says: “There needs to be a MP or member of the executive that is tasked with the responsibility of proposing the amendment bill, because the Constitution can only be amended through an amendment bill. That bill will be introduced in terms of Section 75 of the Constitution. It requires a thorough public participation consultation process so that the people of South Africa can play a role in expressing their views with regard to what should that bill contain.”

DA going to court

The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it might go to court to stop the proposed land reforms. This after Parliament approved a report endorsing a constitutional amendment that would allow the expropriation of land without compensation.

A Parliamentary team last month recommended a constitutional amendment to make it possible for the state to expropriate land without compensation, saying it was in the public interest.

The team’s report was debated in Parliament on Tuesday and approved by a majority of members. But the DA and some lobby groups are critical of the government’s plans, saying it will jeopardise property rights and scare off investors.