The Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure says it is satisfied that it has conducted an extensive consultation process, as the nationwide public hearings into the Expropriation Bill come to an end.
Committee chairperson Nolitha Ntobongwana said in spite of measures to fight the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, which that limited movement, the committee is satisfied by the quality of inputs made by many South Africans across the length and breadth of the country.
“We visited four districts in every province, and we are satisfied that we covered as wide an area in the country as is financially and logistically possible. We are thus reasonably satisfied that our hearings were extensive and all those who participated expressed their views openly without any restriction on any basis,” Ntobongwana said.
She said the committee will also in the foreseeable future invite stakeholders and individuals, who have made written submissions indicating an interest, to make oral presentations.
“We will, following the oral submissions process, discuss the views we got from the public hearings and written submissions to ensure that the report we table to Parliament is as inclusive as possible,” Ntobongwana said.
During the public hearings, the committee heard calls of access to land for different purposes from a diverse range of sectors, including pensioners, traditional healers and faith-based organisations.
The farming community, including commercial farmers, highlighted the risk posed by the Bill on the economic future of the country, while emerging farmers – who are forced to share small communal land and are unable to develop into fully-fledged commercial farmers – called for access to land.
The Khoi and San communities also called for recognition and land for their development to better their socio-economic conditions. Women also called for land availability for purposes including feeding their children.
Ntobongwana said the committee will take into consideration all these needs, as it continues with its legislative processes.
The public hearings were held in line with Section 59 of the Constitution, which compels Parliament to facilitate public involvement in the legislative and other processes of the National Assembly, and its committees, as well as Parliament’s strategic objective of enhancing access to its work, legislative-making process and improving public participation in general.
The committee resolved to visit all provinces to garner public views on the proposed legislation.
“The committee appreciated the willingness by the public, notwithstanding the threat posed by the waves of the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges, to participate in the hearings and express their views on the Bill to ensure that the law that is finally agreed upon is responsive to the needs of the people,” Ntobongwana said. – SAnews
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