Agri SA seeks clarity on new land claims amendment bill
14:13 Wed, 19 Apr 2017
Agri SA seeks clarity on new land claims amendment bill | News Article
Bloemfontein - Agri SA says it is still trying to make sense of a notice published last week around plans to bring the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill before Parliament again.

The organisation’s parliamentary representative, Annelize Crosby, says the way it has been done is quite unusual as it appears to be a private members bill rather than something via official government channels.

“This is not a bill that seems to have been processed through the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform or the Restitution Commission. It’s a private member of the ANC portfolio committee, Mr Mnguni, who is bringing this bill to Parliament.

“He has given notice of his intention to bring the bill and stated broadly in that notice what the intention is.”

Crosby says the problem now is trying to get hold of a copy of the bill so as to provide comments before the deadline at the end of April:

“What we have done as Agri SA is we have written to Mr Mnguni and the speaker of Parliament to say we have taken note of the notice but we have not been able to get hold of a copy of the bill.

“We would like to comment but we can’t do so by the due date because we don’t have a bill available. So I think it’s important to firstly clear that up – what is that deadline about if we don’t have an actual bill.”

The notice was published in the Government Gazette on April 13 and states that intentions are to introduce the bill to Parliament in the second quarter of this year.

It also contains a few proposed changes, including changing the date for lodging a claim to 30 June 2021; and to criminalise the lodging of fraudulent claims.

According to the notice, the Bill is supposed to be available on the ANC website. Interested parties and institutions have until the end of April to submit written representations on the draft bill to the speaker of the National Assembly.

The original amendment bill opened the way for a second round of land claims to take place over the five years ending on 30 June 2019. However, it was declared invalid by the Constitutional Court because due processes were not followed. The court declared that the National Council of Provinces’ public participation process was unreasonable and therefore constitutionally invalid.

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