Parliament will address all concerns raised by South Africans at the public hearings on the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill. This assurance was given by Member of Parliament, Ms Nosilivere Winnie Magadla, to the 170 people attending the public hearing at the City of Tshwane's Council Chambers.
This follows concerns raised by various Gauteng community-based organisations and individual land claimants that the current public hearings will only cause additional delays for land claimants.
The Chairperson of the Gauteng Land Claims Committee, representing various communities throughout the province, Mr Nkopodi Masoma, warned that the current process was once again running the risk of “excluding too many communities”. He called on the hearings to be made more inclusive and for Parliament to go directly to rural areas.
The Land Access Movement of South Africa (Lamosa) also expressed unhappiness with the current "rushed" process. Addressing the public hearings, Lamosa's Acting Director, Ms Emily Tjale, echoed Mr Masoma that the current hearings would “only lead to greater backlogs”.
Ms Tjale also objected to citizens being allocated three minutes to present their cases. This, she said, led to Lamosa taking Parliament to court because the previous process was flawed and lacked proper public participation and consultation.
However, other people present, like Ms Sarah Mahlangu and Ms Stembile Ntombeni, called on Parliament to expedite the process as they were tired of waiting for their confiscated land to be returned to their families. Ms Mahlangu asked for bureaucratic administrative processes to be reduced and to be more streamlined to help and not irritate them.
Ms Ntombeni called for all outstanding land claims to be processed before the 2019 elections. This view was supported by most people who attended the public hearings. Those who presented their cases also called for the appointment of permanent land claims court judges.
The parliamentary delegation thanked those present for engaging frankly and positively towards resolving the land question in South Africa.