CAPE TOWN - The high court in Cape Town will deliver judgment on Friday morning in the case where civic organisation AfriForum is seeking to interdict Parliament from adopting a report recommending that the Constitution be amended to explicitly provide for land expropriation without compensation.
Judges Vincent Saldanha and Mokgoatji Dolamo on Thursday heard arguments from both Parliament and AfriForum in which the latter is seeking interim relief pending the outcome of an application to the court to have the report by the constitutional review committee (CRC) set aside.
If AfriForum loses its bid for interim relief, Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, for Parliament, told the court it would go ahead and table the report in the National Assembly next week Tuesday for debate and adoption.
Etienne Labuschagne, for AfriForum, told the court his clients were content that there was no meaningful public participation in the CRC process.
"My clients assert a Constitutional right to meaningful participation in proceedings before the constitutional review committee," said Labuschagne.
He argued that Parliament unlawfully delegated its powers of analysing the hundreds of thousands of submissions received from the public to an external service provider.
Labuschagne also argued that the fact that over 170,000 written submission to the CRC were considered duplicate submissions and were excluded from the report prejudiced his client.
In turn, Ngcukaitobi said AfriForum was guilty of a "misuse of public participation" and "abuse of process" when they submitted duplicate submissions to Parliament during the public participation process.
Ngcukaitobi said arguments that over 170,000 written submissions were excluded were not correct, as AfriForum and others sent duplicates to the CRC.
"It's the same person making the same submission over and over again," he said.
In addition, Ngcukaitobi said the committee report did in fact record that the majority of written submissions were against a constitutional amendment.
"This report is a fair representation of both those who supported the amendment and those who opposed the amendment."
The exercise of public participation was never about numbers but about the "quality of contesting views", he argued.
"At best they fundamentally misconstrued what this exercise was all about."
African News Agency (ANA)