Maimane: No MP hols until we address land issue
DA leader wants National Assembly speaker to recall members from recess for an urgent sitting of parliament
DA leader Mmusi Maimane wants the National Assembly recalled from its long recess to deal with the emotive issue of land expropriation without compensation.
Maimane on Wednesday morning said he had written to National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete, calling on her to recall the 400 members of the National Assembly to an urgent sitting to debate the matter.
ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Tuesday night that the governing party’s national executive committee had resolved at its lekgotla this week to amend section 25 of the Constitution, which deals with property rights, to allow for expropriation of land without compensation.
But the official opposition party has cried foul, saying Ramaphosa and the ANC were jumping the gun with the announcement as parliament was still considering the matter through countrywide public hearings. The public roadshow this week moved to the Western Cape.MPs are only due to return to parliament in a fortnight for plenary sessions of the National Assembly following a recess period that started at the end of June.
“I have therefore written to the speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, requesting the immediate reconvening of parliament for an urgent sitting to deliberate on this matter,” said Maimane.
“Parliament’s constitutional review committee was established to ensure the voice of the people is heard as to whether section 25 of the Constitution ought to be amended. We need to established where this process has been properly followed.
“It beggars belief that while there are still half a million submissions to be processed by the constitutional review committee, and no less than five public hearings still to be conducted in the Western Cape, the ANC has decided to jump the gun, undermine this public consultation procedure, and render the entire process moot.
“It is incumbent on the speaker of parliament, as the guardian of this constitutional body, to protect it from being undermined by political machinations and brinkmanship. I implore her to act in the best interests of the country, not the ANC.”
Following its national roadshow, the constitutional review committee was expected to continue with further public hearings in parliament where carefully selected interested parties would make more oral submissions. Once that process is concluded, the committee would then deliberate on the submissions before tabling a report in the National Assembly with recommendations on whether or not to amend section 25 of the Constitution.
The ANC would need to rely on the support of other opposition parties in the National Assembly because a two-thirds majority is required to effect a constitutional amendment. The ANC currently has 249 MPs, which means they will need at least 18 opposition MPs to vote with them to reach the minimum threshold of 267 votes from the house to reach the required two-thirds majority.
While the DA does not support the constitutional amendment in relation to land, the ANC is confident it will get the necessary support from other opposition parties such as the EFF, which are pushing for the expropriation of land without compensation.