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MPs clash over motion to extend land reform report deadline

While opposition parties have not opposed the extension for a final report to be tabled by 30 November, they are divided about how the matter should be handled.

FILE: DA chief whip John Steenhuisen in Parliament. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - A motion to extend the deadline for a parliamentary committee considering amending the Constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation has once again sparked debate on the contentious issue.

While opposition parties have not opposed the extension for a final report to be tabled in the National Assembly by 30 November, they are divided about how the matter should be handled.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it doesn’t believe a constitutional amendment is necessary, while the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) says the matter must be expedited to alleviate poverty.

The joint constitutional review committee on Thursday resumed hearings on the proposed amendment.

DA chief whip John Steenhuisen has questioned the African National Congress (ANC)'s commitment to land reform, saying it has spent more on VIP protection services for ministers over the past year.

“It’s convenient to come before the election and say the land is a priority when over the last 24 years there’s been a declining spend in land reform.”

The EFF’s Godrich Gardee says the matter can’t be delayed any longer.

“We would actually have requested the committee to report now because any further delay is a delay on the economic freedom of our people.”

Supporting the extension of the deadline, the Inkatha Freedom Party chief whip Narend Singh has called for cool heads.

But the Freedom Front Plus MP Corne Mulder says he doesn’t believe the committee can conclude such a complex matter before the end of November.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)