AfriForum’s court application against the parliamentary constitutional review committee on the process followed to look into a possible amendment of the Constitution, opening the door to expropriation without compensation, was heard in the Western Cape High Court today.
The matter is about a court application brought by AfriForum in 2018 concerning the process initiated by the parliamentary constitutional review committee to obtain the public’s inputs on amending Section 25 of the Constitution (the property rights clause). In 2018, AfriForum argued that this was a matter to be heard on an urgent basis. At that stage, however, the court ruled that it was not an urgent matter and part A of the application was turned down. Part B, dealing with the merits of the matter, was heard this week.
AfriForum has been arguing that the process had several procedural defects, with the result that the process should in fact be declared unconstitutional and void. One of the most important procedural defects was that a process was followed in 2018 according to which the public could make oral and written representations on amending Section 25 of the Constitution. The inputs by the vast majority of the public were that the Constitution should not be amended. The review committee, however, subcontracted its function of considering these inputs to an external party which rejected almost 200 000 written inputs so as to justify a recommendation that the Constitution should indeed be amended.
“This process obviously is defective and therefore cannot be regarded as a lawful process. Expropriation without compensation is a policy that will affect everybody in the country, regardless of their race or economic status. It is clear to us that parliament is simply trying to push through the idea of expropriation without compensation in spite of the fact that its own process to get the public’s inputs suggests that the public is not in favour of amending the Constitution,” says Ernst Roets, AfriForum’s Head of Policy and Action.
“Particularly in the economic circumstances we are experiencing now we should be wary of destructive policies tampering with rights of ownership, such as expropriation without compensation,” Roets concludes.