Justice Minister Ronald Lamola and EFF MPs 'butt heads’ over meeting
Cape Town - Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola butted heads with EFF MPs on Friday when he could not make an oral presentation to the committee tasked with amending the Constitution.
The drama unfolded when chairperson of the Ad Hoc Committee on Section 25, Mathole Motshekga, said his department would be allowed to make a written submission after it was given the go-ahead by the Cabinet to make an input on the constitutional amendment that will provide for the expropriation of land without compensation.
Lamola told the committee that his department was constrained to make an oral input because they needed to consult the Cabinet on the matter.
“We are in the process of consulting the cabinet so that we can make an informed input. An amendment to a legislation or constitution has to go through the cabinet processes,” Lamola said before briefing the committee on the Land Court Bill.
Motshekga said the committee unfortunately could not grant the department an extension to make an oral presentation.
“We can allow you to submit your comments as soon as they are ready, because those comments will be relevant to the discussions by the committee when it considers the bill.
“But, we can’t have further hearings from today because next week we have to finalise the report and then we take the process forward,” he said.
This prompted EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi to raise concern that Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille and Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Mantashe made their oral presentations, while Lamola said he was still waiting for Cabinet approval.
“It is really inconsistent because he is not the first one we are listening to. Can we get clarity on that?” Ndlozi asked.
Motshekga said Lamola had explained that they should go to the cabinet first and that has not happened yet.
EFF MP Floyd Shivambu interjected, saying Motshekga should not put words in Lamola’s mouth.
“Let him answer for himself. Why are other ministers giving perspective and he is not giving. It is a basic issue that he must articulate on, unless he is a coward,” Shivambu said.
Motshekga pleaded with Shivambu “not go in that direction” but Ndlozi retorted that “he is scared”.
In response, Lamola said: “Chairperson, I am not scared. I can answer.”
He told MPs that the Land Court Bill had gone through the cabinet process and hence they were at liberty to speak on it.
Lamola also said the presentations by other ministers had too gone through the cabinet, including the Expropriation Bill, which De Lille had made a presentation on.
“The issue of the amendment to the constitution is almost the same as the bill process. We will have to get inputs from our cabinet colleagues, hence we need that kind of engagement as you are aware this process runs in Parliament, not from the executive,” the minister said.
“From our side, we are in the process of seeking those inputs of colleagues with regards to the amendment itself and the content. We have already kick started the process,” Lamola said.
He also said they welcomed Motshekga’s ruling that they should make a written submission because oral hearings would no longer be held.
Motshekga said: “We are quite sure all of us, including honourable Shivambu, that you are not afraid.”
But, Shivambu insisted “it is pure cowardice”.