The Co-Chairperson of the Constitutional Review Committee, Mr Vincent Smith, today told a packed Westonaria Civic Centre that all public hearings on amending section 25 of the Constitution were about the people. To ensure the success of these hearings, all the rules of Parliament applied.
However, Mr Smith explained that only the citizens of the country were allowed to express their views, while his parliamentary delegation was only there to observe and listen to the people.
An hour before the public hearing was scheduled to start, West Rand residents had already filled the Westonaria Civic Centre. Mr Smith informed the packed hall that those who attended the hearing had the right to do so without being intimidated. However, speakers only had three minutes within which to state their case. Therefore, he called on the community to respect those addressing the hearing.
Residents responded positively and eagerly participated, expressing their diverse views. While some supported, to loud cheers, amending the Constitution to expropriate land without compensation, others cautioned against such a move.
Ms Amy Motaung asked for government to distribute all land equally among the citizens. Ms Marie van Graan, a DA (Democratic Alliance) councillor, suggested that the people and economy could suffer the most if Parliament endorsed the expropriation of land without compensation. Mr Eddie Krok called on the government to reset its priorities, questioning why the VIP protection budget was greater than that of some important government programmes.
The hearing is expected to conclude today at 4 pm.
By Brent Simons
26 July 2018