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Public hearings in Kuruman in the Northern Cape on a possible review of section 25 of the Constitution were largely one-sided, with the overwhelming majority of submitters being in favour of the expropriation of land without compensation.

Speaker after speaker informed a delegation of the Joint Constitutional Review Committee which is currently visiting South Africa’s biggest province that they want their land back without compensation as it was taken away without payment.

Mr Obert van Wyk said the Northern Cape is geographically the biggest province and has more land than other provinces. The land, according to him, is in the hands of the private sector and most of the private sector is white. “They came here without land. We will wait for an amendment of the Constitution.”

Ms Sarah Marioke said: “We need our land now. Not tomorrow. Now. The Khoi-San are the original inhabitants of the land. They should be recognised.”

Speakers, Mr Samuel Petrus and Mr Lesedi Morapedi, made it clear that they are in favour of the amendment of the Constitution.

Mr Comfort Assegaai said whites poison the land with chemicals in order for black farmers to fail in agriculture. Many farm workers indicated that land expropriation is not a threat to food security, as whites want everyone to believe, as they have been working the land for years for white people and know how to work the land.

During the morning session Ms Renate van der Merwe said the Constitution should not be changed as she is convinced it would ruin South Africa financially. Mr Henk Maree said this is just a way in which the government wants to amass more land, that is why he is against the amendment of the Constitution and expropriation of land without compensation.

Mr Frank Fourie maintained that this process is just an attempt to make South Africans tenants in their own land. He claims this process will block people from owning land.

A female submitter, who did not identify herself, said the Khoi-San people are the original owners of the land. “When you expropriate land, who will get the land? We are against this expropriation.”

Mr Lewis Nzimande, the Co-Chairperson of the committee, assured the public that the committee values all their inputs. “South Africans must be assured that we will take all inputs into consideration when we deliberate on this very critical matter.”

The delegations move to Kimberley tomorrow for the last leg of its Northern Cape public hearings.

By Rajaa Azzakani

29 June 2018