29/03/2018 06:38 SAST | Updated 29/03/2018 06:38 SAST

ANC MPs: Amending Property Clause Not A Foregone Conclusion

MPs will hold consultations in all nine provinces before deciding whether land expropriation without compensation requires a constitutional amendment.

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Cyril Ramaphosa and former ANC chief whip Mathole Motshekga take pictures during a visit to Ivory Park on May 05, 2017 in Midrand.

It is not a foregone conclusion that the property clause in the Constitution will be amended so that land expropriation without compensation can occur, ANC MPs have said, according to Business Day. Speaking at the end of a two-day land summit in Johannesburg, ANC MPs Vincent Smith and Mathole Motshekga reportedly said the constitutional review committee in Parliament will first undertake nationwide consultations before a decision is made on what to do about the property clause.

A majority of MPs in Parliament, including ANC MPs, voted in favour of an EFF motion to amend the Constitution to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation in February. Answering questions in Parliament in March, President Cyril Ramaphosa said there would be a process of broad consultation before any decisions were taken.

According to Business Day, the land summit was hosted by Parliament, the University of Pretoria's GIBS Business School, Nelson Mandela University and civil society organisations.

Everybody will be given a hearing...'

Smith reportedly said the committee would call for written submissions next week, after which it would hold public hearings for three days in each province. The committee would then present Parliament with a decision on whether it was necessary to amend Section 25 – the "property clause" – or not.

"When we go back in August, we will not say that land must be expropriated. We will either say that the Constitution must be amended or not," Smith reportedly said.

According to Daily Maverick, Motshekga said no one should feel "threatened" by the process.

"Everybody will be given a hearing... this is taking forward what [Nelson] Mandela foresaw: transformation of our society in an orderly manner."

This echoed the sentiment expressed by new mining minister Gwede Mantashe, who in his opening of the summit said that the land issue should not be allowed to turn into anarchy.

According to City Press, Mantashe said the land issue was sensitive, but that a "painful process" needed to be undertaken for healing to occur.

"The intention is that we should come to the party and appreciate the sensitivities about the land issue... We should understand the fear of those who sit on the land when we talk about expropriation without compensation ... it is not a policy to drive whites into the sea; that has never been the policy of the ANC and will never be the policy of the ANC. It's about fair distribution of land and access to that land," he reportedly said.