The people of the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality and nearby communities welcomed a delegation of the Ad Hoc Committee to Initiate and Introduce Legislation Amending Section 25 of the Constitution when the committee arrived in King William’s Town recently for public hearings on the drafting of that Section of the Constitution.

 The Chairperson of the delegation, Adv Bongani Bongo, told the people of the Buffalo City that the delegation was there following the public hearings conducted by the Constitutional Review Committee, which obtained views from the public on the desirability to amend Section 25 of the Constitution. He said the current hearings were not a continuation of those previous ones, but are to obtain public views on how to draft Section 25.

The hearings will stop at the end of May. “By that the committee aims to have completed the process of consideration of the public input received and present the report to the National Assembly,” Adv Bongo said. 

The people reiterated their support for the amendment of Section 25 and made proposals on how the new section should be drafted. They also told the committee not to return to King William’s Town until the new section is completed and implemented. “The time for public hearings passed a long time ago. Now is the time for implementation,” the said.

A resident of King William’s Town who is also a former Member of Parliament and Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Education, Professor Shepherd Mayatula, said he was happy to see Parliament affording the people an opportunity to determine how they want their land back. “The principle of public participation is in essence how the people govern practically. It is the translation of the principle enshrined in the Freedom Charter that the people shall govern,” the professor said.

Other King William’s Town residents reminded the Ad Hoc Committee about the history of struggle against colonial and apartheid governments, who fought with the people for centuries to take away their land. They told the committee delegation that leaders such as Stephen Biko who died in 1977; Dr Griffiths and Ms Nonyamezelo Mxenge, who were both assassinated in Umlazi in Durban in 1985 and 1986; and Steve Tshwete, who was the Minister Police, among many others paid a heavy price for the return of the land to its rightful owners. All of them were born in King William’s Town.

Mava Lukani
17 March 2020