The adoption for the controversial Expropriation Bill by parliament, scheduled for 1 August, was cancelled with no explanation from the portfolio committee, according to DA land affairs spokesperson Andries Botha, who sits as an alternative member on the portfolio committee. “We were scheduled to meet on 29 July to discuss the arguments in the public hearings, but when we contacted the committee secretary on 28 July to obtain details of the meeting venue, we were told that the meeting had been cancelled,” said Botha.
“We were never given any reasons and now we don’t know what will happen with the Bill.” Sydney Opperman, DA spokesperson for Public Works, said that because of the poor way in which public hearings were conducted, the DA had called for the entire public consultation process on the Bill to be relaunched. “We’ve also written to the chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Public Works asking for a written explanation as to why the scheduled meetings were so abruptly cancelled,” said Opperman. He added that two more scenarios remained: that the Bill would fall by the wayside and would not progress through parliament, or that the portfolio committee would meet at a later stage to discuss the public and parliamentary submissions made earlier this year.
“It’s unacceptable that this matter, which has incurred such a huge cost has just stopped being spoken about,” said Botha. Attempts to get comment from the chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Public Works failed at the time of going to press. – David Steynberg