Re-printed from NEASA
Both of the parliamentary committees dealing with expropriation with out compensation (EWC) bills have breached their constitutional obligations to ‘facilitate public participation’ in the legislative task, says the IRR.
Both committees, therefore, wish to begin again, with a ‘big reset’ that includes a factual socio-economic evaluate of each and every bills – and a brand new willingness to take into tale the massive risks in EWC and the a gargantuan number of objections to it that South Africans have raised.
Some 90 000 written submissions on the Expropriation Invoice of 2020 (the Expropriation Invoice) streamed into the portfolio committee on public works and infrastructure by the 28 February 2021 deadline. Many of the these that took the trouble to put in writing in potentially objected to the Invoice’s vast-ranging EWC provisions and unfair expropriation procedures.
The portfolio committee isn’t very doubtless to have read these 90 000 written submissions in the previous two weeks, so it would now not know the content of these documents. Nor does it know the arrangement many individuals and organisations requested, in their written submissions, for the possibility to carry out oral presentations too.
Undeterred, the portfolio committee is nonetheless forging forward with the oral presentation stage. It has invited 21 individuals and organisations to carry out oral submissions to it next week, on 24 and 25 March. But many reasonably about a individuals might perhaps well want requested to carry out oral presentations too, but are being arbitrarily and unfairly denied this.
“In rushing forward in this reach,” says the IRR’s project supervisor, Terence Corrigan, “the Portfolio Committee is ignoring Parliament’s constitutional obligation to ‘facilitate public participation’ in the legislative task. It’s miles additionally overlooking a bunch of Constitutional Courtroom judgments which emphasise that a tick-field attitude to public consultation is now not ample.”
The IRR has therefore as of late written to the secretary of the Portfolio Committee to inquire that it discontinue to any extent extra processing of the Expropriation Invoice unless the total steps wanted for factual public consultation are in location.
The Ad Hoc Committee charged with drafting an EWC constitutional modification bill (formally, the Draft Constitution Eighteenth Modification Invoice of 2020) is additionally failing on the public consultation front.
This committee bought extra than 204 000 written submissions by the finish of February 2020, quickly sooner than the Covid-19 lockdown started. It too has but to read the total documents that folk took the trouble to send in.
On oral presentations, the Ad Hoc Committee’s initial decision used to be to exclaim anyone the possibility to address it because it regarded an arbitrary March 2021 deadline for the completion of its work as extra distinguished. Though it has since agreed to hear oral presentations, it refuses to let this task lengthen beyond next Thursday (25th March) – irrespective of how many oral submissions might perhaps well thus be excluded.
Says Corrigan: “Both committees have space short timelines for the public participation task and now regard their self-imposed deadlines as extra distinguished than their constitutional obligations. But the Constitutional Courtroom has wired that it’s the timetable that ought to be subordinated to the rights assured in the Constitution, and never the rights to the timetable.”
“Both committees wish to scheme reduction, recognise the deep flaws in their public consultation processes, and delivery afresh. Furthermore, if the public is genuinely to have some other to ‘know in regards to the problems’, because the Constitution requires, each and every committees might perhaps well unexcited be certain that the nation’s most an knowledgeable and experienced economists are commissioned to conduct a comprehensive socio-economic evaluate (SEIAS) of the doubtless charges and consequences of EWC – especially in South Africa’s straitened economic situations.
“Since 2015, executive coverage has required that a final SEIAS file be appended to each and every bill launched for public comment. On the replacement hand, this has now not been done for both the constitutional modification bill or the Expropriation Invoice.
“A factual SEIAS file is required at this juncture because of the unheard of economic injury the prolonged Covid-19 lockdown has already brought on. In these situations, South Africans want a stout evaluation of the massive additional economic injury EWC is plain to generate.
“As Zimbabwe and Venezuela have came upon, EWC will choke off notify investment, promote a flight of capital and talents, and aggravate already sky-excessive unemployment charges. It will additionally provoke a banking crisis, an upsurge in inflation, and a distinguished broader sovereign debt default.”
Having breached their constitutional obligations on public participation, each and every committees might perhaps well unexcited embark on a ‘big reset’ to right these deficits, the IRR says.
Both might perhaps well unexcited therefore delivery afresh by securing comprehensive SEIAS experiences, precisely identifying the massive charges of EWC – and jettisoning the ideological commitment to exclaim ownership and control that currently prevents factual public consultation on each and every EWC bills.
For additional information:
NEASA Media Department