Agriculture Committee to conduct public hearings on PDAL Bill in Sedibeng

The Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development will conduct its nationwide public hearings on the Preservation and Development of Agricultural Land (PDAL) Bill in Gauteng at the Ratanda Multipurpose Hall in Heidelberg from 10am to 2pm.
The Committee has successfully held the hearings in Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West and Northern Cape provinces. The Gauteng hearings will take place at City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, West Rand and Sedibeng District Municipalities in the province.
The PDAL Bill seeks, among other things, to provide that the Subdivision of Agricultural Land Act (SALA) of 1970 applies to all agricultural land in the country, to provide principles for the management of agricultural land; to provide for agricultural land evaluation and classification; to provide for the preparation, purpose and content of provincial agricultural sector plans and to provide for the declaration of protected agricultural areas.
The Bill further aims to address SALA shortcomings and other identified weaknesses. SALA is currently administered only by the national Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development and, as such, does not conform to the constitutional requirements of cooperative governance where national, provincial and local spheres of government have a role to play. Furthermore, SALA is only applicable to privately owned land and thus, the Department cannot protect high-value agricultural land owned by the state, statutory bodies, communal land and land administered by traditional authorities.
An attempt was made in 1998 to repeal the SALA Act of 1970 through the Subdivision of Agricultural Land Repeal Act, 1998 (Act No. 64 of 1998). However, the repeal Act, which was passed by Parliament, was assented to by the then Acting President, but not the President, therefore, it was never promulgated.
The committee is conducting the public hearings to ensure that the final Bill reflects the views of the people and the affected stakeholders. Public participation is very important in the development and processing of legislation to ensure that laws that Parliament passes are progressive and responsive to the needs of every citizen and do not infringe on their rights.

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