The importance of official comments on amending the constitution
The public has until 31 January to have a say on what is quite possibly the most critical amendment yet to emerge from the South African parliament – the Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill which seeks to enable expropriation of property (not limited to land) without compensation.
Several organisations have launched petitions in opposition to the amendment. However, Dear South Africa, a registered non-profit, has provided a direct government interface which enables the public to have a say in favour of or opposition to the bill.
“This is not a one-sided petition”, says Rob Hutchinson, MD of DearSA”. “Government treats petitions as a single submission, no matter how many signatories, whereas our official system ensures that each public comment is individually delivered, registered, acknowledged and considered in parliament’s decision-making process.”
Along with immediately delivering your comment to government, DearSA’s system keeps an accurate record of all participation and enables the organisation to present a report directly to parliament. This process ensures that civil society holds a precise unbiased, publically available live record of all input.
The AdHoc Committee on Amending the Constitution opened the first call for comment to produce a report for parliament in June 2018, a process which resulted in over 700,000 South Africans voicing their opinion. In December 2019, this final call for comment on the new Draft Amendment Bill requires significantly greater participation from South Africans.
Whether in favour of or opposed to an amendment of the Constitution of South Africa, to create effective impact, the public must have a say through an official unbiased platform, not only a petition.
Have your say on the Constitution Amendment by using DearSA’s platform before 31 January at this link; https://dearsouthafrica.co.za/constitution-eighteenth-amendment-bill/
DearSA has also provided all the Parliamentary Committee meeting notes, documents, audio recordings and minutes at the link above.
Media enquiries; Rob Hutchinson, DearSA