So it appears these land hearings are about ticking boxes, not
consulting South Africans.
When President Cyril Ramaphosa, as ANC president, used the SABC to make a Zuma-style late-night announcement on Wednesday, he wasn’t thinking about land or justice. He was thinking about keeping the ANC together and neutralising the electoral threat of his new populist pals in red.
Or maybe it is about buying the EFF’s support, so that they can get back control of metros like NMB, that they ran into the ground with their corruption and maladministration.
~ Mmusi Maimane
PRINCE MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI MP, PRESIDENT OF THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY
3 August 2018
What message was the ANC trying to send by announcing its decision to amend the Constitution, just hours before the people of the Western Cape were given their chance to express an opinion?
Public hearings on the necessity of a constitutional amendment to facilitate land expropriation without compensation have taken place in every province of South Africa, except the Western Cape. Here, hearings of the Joint Constitutional Review Committee only begin today.
Yet late last night our Head of State applauded “our people, from all walks of life… for expressing their views on this critical matter”, based on which the ANC will push an amendment to the Constitution through Parliament.
Are the people of the Western Cape not “our people”? Do the views of almost 6 million people, many of whom are farmers, carry no weight with the ANC?
The constitutional review process was instituted by the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces to enable all South Africans to participate. Millions of Rands have been spent to enable Parliament to hear from all our citizens. This process is not yet complete.
Even after the hearings in the Western Cape, the hundreds of thousands of submissions from around the country will need to be analysed and tested by the Joint Constitutional Review Committee before a recommendation is made to Parliament.
But none of that matters anymore, because the ANC has already decided what they will make Parliament do. This is not just a slap in the face of Parliament, but a slap in the face to all South Africans. With this level of disrespect for the parliamentary process, there is no hope that the democratic voice will be heard.
It’s far from good enough to listen to some voices, but not others. Moreover, not all submissions will be based on the best interests of our country, our economy and the future of investment. We have seen many of the public hearings dominated by political appearances and obvious political agendas. Parliament’s Committee is tasked with filtering all that is said, and expressing the genuine voice of the people.
Why could the ANC not wait for the people to speak and for Parliament to complete its work? Why the rush announcement?
And what will the Joint Constitutional Review Committee tell the people of Oudtshoorn, Beaufort West, Citrusdal and Swellendam, as it meets with them this week? What will it tell the people of the Cape Town Metro at the mass public hearing on Saturday? Already the venue has had to be moved to accommodate the huge number of citizens wanting to participate. Has their participation just become pointless?
This is not the way a government of the people works.
The IFP calls on Parliament to reaffirm its authority, and to engage the ruling party on its public disrespect for the parliamentary process. We also urge the people of the Western Cape to still come out and speak. Let all our voices be heard.