CAPE TOWN, November 25 – Parliament has filed an answering affidavit to AfriForum’s application in the Western Cape High Court on the expropriation of land without compensation issue, asking the court to dismiss or strike AfriForum’s application from the court roll with punitive costs, parliament said on Sunday.
AfriForum’s application seeks to have the report of the joint constitutional review committee on amending section 25 of the Constitution – dealing with land expropriation – set aside.
In the affidavit, parliament argued that AfriForum was deliberately trying to frustrate parliament’s legislative processes. The report, which the committee adopted and would refer to the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces for consideration, was an interim step, similar to a bill. It was not finally in effect. It may be accepted or it may not, parliament said in a statement.
The committee embarked on an extensive public participation process – at public hearings in each of the nine provinces and meetings and workshops at parliament. This was an additional pre-legislative step before the process of introducing a bill. Thousands of South Africans joined the national conversation about land and its role in building democracy and “redressing the wounds of our past”.
After a decision by parliament, a bill may be introduced. At that stage, parliament would again invite further and full public comments in terms of parliament’s constitutional obligations.
“In essence, AfriForum wants to interdict parliament, at this stage, because it alleges the committee should have considered each submission, including those that it admits, are duplicate submissions. The committee did not exclude any submissions except where those were enquiries, unrelated, blank, or repeats. AfriForum does not deny that the committee has considered the substance of those duplicate submissions.
“Parliament has asked the court to dismiss or strike AfriForum’s application from the court roll with punitive costs,” the statement said. (ANA)