CIVIC tech organisation OpenUp has developed a simple tool which makes it simple for anyone to make their voice heard on the critical issue of expropriation of land without compensation. The online tool can be found here.
The Parliamentary Committee that will review Section 25 of the Constitution, which deals with property rights, has invited the public to participate in the debate, through a series of hearings and by engaging with the committee. There has been a flood of responses to the committee, the majority from organisations, NPO’s, and activists – but the voice of ordinary men and women are missing on this vital issue.
Although the Constitution already allows for land expropriation – without compensation – if it is “just and equitable”, if signed into law, this will be the first time an amendment has been made to the Bill of Rights.
The committee wants all South Africans “to feel free to come and give their views and to be tolerant enough to allow those who have different views, to air their views”, committee chairperson, Vincent Smith, said in an interview with the Parliamentary Monitoring Group (PMG).
Using the tool, developed in partnership with the Parliamentary Monitoring Group, users are taken through a series of questions, which should take no longer than five minutes to answer. Once the questionnaire has been completed, it is then submitted to the committee via email.
Everyone can play an important role in enhancing democracy, but it will also provide them with an opportunity to produce content relative to their audiences, who face the danger of being excluded from having their voices heard.