December 15, 2019

Land reform and expropriation without compensation remain pressing issues at Parliament where another three-week recess from mid-September, officially dubbed a constituency period, is putting MPs under pressure, writes MARIANNE MERTEN in an article published by the Daily Maverick.

South Africa’s tertiary education institutions could face turmoil in 2019 that would make the Fees Must Fall disruptions of 2015/6 pale in comparison as the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) struggles to play catch-up with burgeoning funding applications. The Minster of Education, Naledi Pandor, has already taken far-reaching steps to try to avoid an explosive crisis at campuses countrywide in the next academic year.

The controversial Critical Infrastructure Protection Bill was adopted by the Portfolio Committee on Police last week, despite a protracted public consultation process which had civil society denouncing the Bill as the apartheid-era National Key Point Act of 1980 masquerading under a new name.

The recently released World Bank Group Diagnostic Report on South Africa, “An Incomplete Transition: Overcoming the Legacy of Exclusion in South Africa,” has in many ways shifted the ground on which the ruling party has for decades contested the so-called Washington Consensus. The big surprise was that the Diagnostic Report, released in May, was written in language that sounded very much like the National Development Plan (NDP).

As the debate on land restitution gains momentum, with unseemly haste displayed by the ruling party which couldn't even wait for the parliamentary process to run its course, now is a good time to stop and look back. The decade-long MalaMala land deal provides a salutary lesson on the need to tread with great caution. Before the country-wide consultation process got underway Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform discussed this example of how land redistribution can go very wrong, even if it is agreed in principle that this is what it will take for transformation ti become a reality.

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Notes from the House is an independent online publication that tracks and monitors Parliament’s role in fulfilling its constitutional responsibilities to improve the lives of South African citizens. Published by Moira Levy with the support of the Claude Leon Foundation.

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