MPs and senior parliamentary staff packed the courtroom in which Afriforum is challenging the adoption of a report by Parliament's constitutional review committee recommending section 25 of the Constitution be amended to explicitly allow for land expropriation without compensation. File photo: Chantall Presence / ANA

CAPE TOWN - A report recommending that the Constitution be amended to explicitly provide for land expropriation without compensation will be tabled in the National Assembly for adoption next week, after Afriforum on Friday, lost its court bid to interdict the legislature from doing so in the high court in Cape Town.

"The relief sought by the applicants...is dismissed," Judge Vincent Saldanha ruled in part A of the application where Afriforum sought to have the report withdrawn pending the outcome of part B in which Afriforum will challenge the constitutionality of the report.  

Members of the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC), the drafters of the report, attended the court proceedings and welcomed the ruling, saying they were now more determined to have the report adopted.

"It's not just a victory for Parliament, it's a victory for South Africans that we can continue with land reform and the uniting of our country so we very  confident and we very comfortable that the courts in fact took the right decision and we are now more determined that ever to make sure this process reaches it logical conclusion eventually," said African National Congress (ANC) member of Parliament (MP) Vincent Smith.

Vincent Smith, an ANC MP sitting on the Constitutional Review Committee, welcomed the high court dismissal of an application by AfriForum to interdict the legislature from debating and voting on a report recommending the Constitution be amended to explicitly provide for land expropriation without compensation. Video: Chantall Presence / ANA

Afriforum claims its written submissions to the committee were excluded, while Parliament insists many of the submissions were duplicates and that the committee considered all input. 

Parliament also maintains the extensive public consultation process was never meant as a referendum, but that MPs opted to take the qualitative approach to the input it received from the public.  

Reacting to Friday's ruling, AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel said it was not the end of its opposition to the constitutional amendment "but merely the beginning of a long and lengthy battle" as it simply meant that the case would not be heard on an urgent basis.

"AfriForum therefore undertakes to use every possible mechanism at its disposal to, in the interest of everyone in the country, fight to the bitter end against the undermining of property rights."

Parliament said it was vindicated by the court's decision as it reaffirmed the legislature's constitutional right to conduct its business without undue interference.

"As Parliament consistently stressed, AfriForum’s application was ill-advised, abusive to the court processes, premature and intended to gag both Parliament and thousands of South Africans who expressed their views through the public participation process," it added in a statement.

African News Agency (ANA)