The civil rights watchdog AfriForum has notified Parliament in writing that the organisation will consult its legal team regarding the option to declare the process which entails that Section 25 of the Constitution be amended to empower the state to expropriate property without compensation as illegal.
This follows after attempts by the parliamentary committee – which was compiled with the objective to revise the Constitution – to consult with the public regarding the amendment of Section 25 already had to bid defiance to various procedural crises.
Ernst Roets, Deputy CEO of AfriForum, indicated that it already seems to AfriForum that the process related to gaining the public’s input has been manipulated from the beginning to reach an outcome that will support the ruling party’s stance.
AfriForum has identified ten potential procedural irregularities that may have a substantial impact on the outcome of the process regarding the public hearings that have been organised for this objective and that already need to kick off in two weeks. The ten points are as follow:
- Many of the venues at which these public hearings will take place are still not known to the public.
- The times at which these public hearings will start are not known.
- The agenda that would be followed at these public hearings is still not known.
- Contradicting lists with different dates and venues for these public hearings were published by the committee.
- It is clear that the venues that were chosen in which these public hearings will take place, are mostly located within wards in which the ruling party has more support.
- Too few public hearings are being arranged, which would exclude a significant section of the South African population.
- The public hearings are organised within the vicinity of only a small section of the South African population.
- No security arrangements have been arranged or made public regarding these public hearings.
- Major metropolitans are excluded from the process in which no public hearings would take place.
- It appears that none to very little marketing has been done to inform the public of these public hearings, even though very little time is left between the drafting of this letter and the first public hearing, which is scheduled to take place on 26 June 2018.
AfriForum has made a plea to the parliamentary committee to urgently tackle these issues. The organisation has also communicated that even though it reserves its rights in this regard, it will still participate in the public participation processes with the aim to lay out important facts regarding expropriation without compensation.