Parliament, Sunday, 15 March 2020 – A delegation of the Ad Hoc Committee to Initiate and Introduce Legislation Amending Section 25 of the Constitution concluded the Eastern Cape leg of its public hearings in Port Elizabeth (PE) today.
The delegation has, over the past few days held hearings in Tsolo, Engcobo, King William’s Town and PE where the majority of residents told the committee to expedite the process of amending Section 25 of the Constitution.
The residents of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality told the delegation that “land expropriation is the only practical option available to address the land question in South Africa to restore the dignity of the black South Africans”. These sentiments were expressed at all the venues where the committee conducted public hearings in the Eastern Cape Province.
At all the four venues the majority of participants called for the state to be the custodian of all South Africa’s natural resources that include land, mineral resources, forests, water and air. At Tsolo and Engcobo venues that are in the OR Tambo District where the majority of communities are under the leadership of traditional leaders, there were participants who called for the land and other natural resources to be under the custodianship of traditional leaders on behalf of their people.
A representative of the Khoi-San communities in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality told the delegation that the Khoi people were also brutally deprived of their land through the colonial system of government, and all the successive colonial and apartheid governments regarded the Khoi-San community as non-existent in South Africa.
Furthermore, the participants told the committee that the Khoi-San community in the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality supports the expropriation of land without compensation. He said, as Khoi-San people, they also support the argument that the “willing buyer and willing seller” principle failed, and must be replaced by the expropriation of land from the minority to the majority of South Africans.
Those who support the amendments of Section 25 of the Constitution told the committee that the expropriation of the land must be accompanied by the provision of the necessary resources such as finance and the empowerment of the beneficiaries with the necessary skills to ensure that they work the land productively.
Notwithstanding the majority view for the amendment of the Constitution which triumphed at the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality as well, there were views, however in the minority, that opposed the amendment of the Constitution. The participants who expressed the opposing views based their opposition on, among other things, the negative impact of the amendment on investor confidence and on food security, at a time when the country needs investors for the creation of employment and for the maximisation of food production.
They also argued that Section 25 in its current form allows for land expropriation, the only problem is that the government is failing on its land reform programme. They said the amendment will not deal with the problem of corruption that has compromised the land reform programme.
The Chairperson of the delegation, Adv Bongani Bongo appealed for patience to the people at all the venues in the Eastern Cape as the law-making process takes a longer time. In explaining the importance of public participation to the people of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality, Adv Bongo said: “We know what this legislation means to the people of this country, we have heard your cries.”
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE LEADER OF THE DELEGATION, ADV BONGANI BONGO.
For media enquiries or interviews with the Chairperson, please contact the committee’s Media Officer:
Name: Felicia Lombard (Ms)
Parliamentary Communication Services
Tel: 021 403 8285
Cell: 063 503 2364
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