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Land expropriation: MPs debate removing some sections in the Constitution

The advisors have given MPs a legal opinion on the bill on Wednesday following a week of public hearings.

A National Assembly hybrid plenary sitting in line with COVID-19 regulations on 27 August 2020. Picture: @ParliamentofRSA/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - Parliament's legal advisers say removing certain sub sections in the Constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation could be unconstitutional.

However, they add the constitutional amendment is rational.

The advisors have given MPs a legal opinion on the bill on Wednesday following a week of public hearings.

Members of the ad hoc committee working on the constitutional amendment have met on Wednesday to finalise the draft bill.

READ: MPs raise concerns over parallel public hearings on expropriation bill

They've been briefed by Land Affairs Minister Thoko Didiza, whose department supports the amendment.

Advocate Telana Halley from Parliament's legal services has also briefed MPs.

She warns against the removal of certain sections, saying these could be unconstitutional.

“Our response is, regarding the words ‘no compensation,’ in general a committee will apply its mind to the resolution. If unacceptable consequences arise, the committee may then make a decision to better word the bill. Removing subsections 1 to 3 will affect the basic structure and in any likelihood be found unconstitutional.”

READ: Cosatu backs constitutional change for land expropriation without compensation

Not everyone has welcomed the advice, saying it stood in the way of land reform.

Economic Freedom Fighters MP Floyd Shivambu said: “It’s even beginning to suggest that there are a certain amendments that we cannot change because that will be unconstitutional.”

The committee will meet again next week.

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