The case was thrown out of court after being brought about by Afriforum, which represents mostly white Afrikaners and challenged a ruling made by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s plans for land expropriation without compensation. The group questioned the legality of a parliamentary committee report which recommended a change to the constitution to forward by the leader, who has made land redistribution a flagship policy after replacing scandal-hit former leader Jacob Zuma earlier this year. Afriforum blasted the report and claimed the committee had illegally appointed an external service provider to compile the document. Judge Vincent Saldanha said: “The relief sought by the applicants… is dismissed.”
Afriforum, which represents mostly white Afrikaners, alleged that the parliamentary committee had illegally appointed an external service provider to compile the report, and also failed to consider more than 100,000 submissions opposing land expropriation without compensation.
Around 65 percent of public submissions were against a change, according to parliamentary officials.
Parliament argue the case by saying court action was premature as the committee had not repealed its powers.
Referring to the lawmakers, Lewis Nzimande, co-chair of the constitutional review committee, said: “We welcome the orders handed down today particularly because we’ve always been of the view that the matter was not urgent,” Lewis Nzimande, co-chair of the constitutional review committee, told reporters outside the High Court in Cape Town.
“They may set aside the recommendations, they may reject the recommendations but procedurally… we can’t just reject the whole work of the committee.”
He said he remains hopeful the report will be debated in parliament on December 4.
He also said they expect further public participation for a new bill proposing the exact changes.
Once changes are approved, it will be signed off by Mr Ramaphosa. This process is unlikely to be completed before a parliamentary election expected to be held in May.
Afriforum said after the judgement they would continue challenging what they say is a flawed process, including through further legal action.
“AfriForum therefore undertakes to use every possible mechanism at its disposal to, in the interest of everyone in the country, fight to the bitter end against the undermining of property rights,” it said in a statement.