The Helen Suzman Foundation says the government's lack of political will in implementing land reform is the real issue.  Picture: Bongani Mbatha/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
The Helen Suzman Foundation says the government's lack of political will in implementing land reform is the real issue. Picture: Bongani Mbatha/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

HSF says no to constitutional amendment of land reform bill

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Jan 30, 2020

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Johannesburg - The Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) says the government's lack of political will in implementing land reform is the real issue and thus there is no need to amend Section 25 of the Constitution. 

The organisation made submissions to Parliament in line with open public hearings on the matter. Concerned citizens had until Friday to make submissions on the matter, but on Thursday the ad hoc committee on land expropriation voted to extend the deadline until the end of February. 

The foundation said the issue with land reform had nothing to do with the Constitution, but a lack of political will. 

"The obstacle to land reform is not the Constitution, but rather a lack of political will to implement an effective land reform policy. The Government’s land reform efforts have been beset with corruption, inefficiency and incompetence. It has been a failure. In the words of a recent Constitutional Court judgment on the activities of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, “… it has displayed a patent incapacity or inability to get the job done," the foundation said in its submission. 

"In targeting Section 25 of the Constitution, the government is trying to use the Constitution as a convenient excuse for its lack of progress on land reform. The drive to adopt this constitutional amendment is not the result of legal considerations. It is the obvious result of political pressure and the perceived need by Government to show that something tangible is actually being done. Against the above background, the HSF submits that the Bill should be withdrawn."

The HSF is not the only organisation that has stood against the bill. Some opposition political parties have also expressed their concern on the matter. The DA has been one of the most outspoken parties along with civil society groups such AfriForum. 

The DA also cited a lack of political will as the reason why land reform had slowed over the years. 

The party said it would hand over thousands of objections to the bill. 

“The DA is of the firm belief that section 25 is not an impediment to meaningful land reform, but that the lack of political will on the part of the ANC government has been the central problem. With the deadline for public submissions approaching, the DA calls on all South Africans who want to protect our Constitution to object to this disastrous bill,” said the DA in a statement. 

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