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Cape Town – During the upcoming public consultation process with regard to the Upgrade of Land Tenure Rights Amendment (Ultra) Bill, the provincial legislature’s standing committee on agriculture will consult with academics and target rural communities over urban dwellers. This was agreed at a committee meeting at which the committee was informed that it had a tight timetable of three weeks to deliver comments on the bill to the National Council of Provinces.

Two orders of the Constitutional Court required the amendment bill, which ruled that the act, which dates back to 1991, was unconstitutional because it discriminated against women’s rights to own property independently. In the former apartheid homelands of Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei, formerly known as the TBVC states, section 3 of the law was also inapplicable.

“Committee Chairman Andricus van der Westhuizen (DA) said during a brief debate on what the advertising that alerts the public to the process should look like: “There is a proposal to take out ads in the print media, but as I know this is a costly choice, I propose that we focus as early as possible on two or three of the largest provincially-based newspapers.

“Van der Westhuizen said: “I would suggest that we send invitations to the province’s academic institutions because, for example, I know that UCT has a desk specializing in land rights and land tenure issues. “Committee member Peter Marais (FF Plus) said: “The bill applies to communal land that is primarily to be found in rural areas rather than urban areas. What do people in cities have to contribute to what is expected to happen in the TBVC states of communal land? ”

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“Marais added: “First of all, we should meet with the citizens most affected by this law because they deserve the repercussions of the legislature. “We shouldn’t bother advertising in mainstream papers in the meantime, but in this situation we should target free community newspapers because they are the most likely to be read by the poor people we want to talk to,” he said. The measures were endorsed by Committee members Pat Marran (ANC) and Deidré Baartman (DA) and the bill was approved.

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