Picture: Bongani Mbatha/ African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - Opposition parties have backed calls for the extension of the deadline for written submissions on the expropriation of land without compensation.

Parliament’s ad hoc committee has set the end of the month as the deadline to make written submissions on the bill to amend Section 25 of the Constitution.

The Centre for Constitutional Rights had written to the ad hoc committee requesting an extension.

The DA and the African Christian Democratic Party said on Wednesday there was not sufficient time for people to deal with the bill and make submissions by the end of this month, because it had been gazetted and published during the festive season.

DA caucus chairperson in Parliament Annelie Lotriet said it would make sense to extend the deadline. She said when the committee began its work, its chairperson, Mathole Motshekga, indicated there would be enough time to deal with all issues.

But Lotriet said it appeared that the committee was now rushing through the process. She said there would not be sufficient time to meet the March deadline to submit a report to Parliament. Lotriet said the DA supported a request to extend the deadline.

ACDP MP Steve Swart said it would support any position to extend the deadline. He said more time was needed on the submissions because it was the first time a section of the Bill of Rights was being amended.

But Motshekga said: “From February 17 there will be public hearings. Those who are not ready can come to the hearings and make submissions.”

He said South Africans wanted certainty on the land question and there was no time for academic debates.

Political Bureau