Parliament, Monday, 16 March 2020 – A delegation of the Ad Hoc Committee to Initiate and Introduce Legislation Amending Section 25 of the Constitution in order to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation successfully concluded four legs of public hearings in Gauteng on the Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill where the majority of residents overwhelmingly supported the Bill, and called on Parliament to speedily conclude the process of amending Section 25 of the Constitution.
At all the venues where public hearings were conducted, the climate of tolerance prevailed, and all the participants expressed their views freely. “We would like to acknowledge the collegial environment through which inputs were made despite the emotive nature of land and opposing views held,” said Dr Mathole Motshekga, the Chairperson of the Committee.
In Germiston, the residents told the committee that the poor will remain poor if Section 25 is not amended.
They said it’s only through the amendment of Section 25 to unblock access to land which can be utilised for a number of economic development initiatives that are aimed at alleviating the scourge of poverty, rising unemployment and deepening inequality.
The participants emphasised that those who own land are against the expropriation of land as they clearly understand that the expropriation of land will shake and eventually dismantle the historical barriers of inequality among South Africans, and the challenges of poverty and unemployment would be pushed back for ever and they would forfeit their historical title of owners of land.
The majority of participants also reiterated its call for the urgent amendment of Section 25 of the Constitution as the land was violently taken from its rightful owners.
Some of the participants suggested that amending Section 25 and making it explicit on the issue of expropriation for the purposes of housing will enable the local government to expropriate land with the aim of providing housing for the poor.
There was a number of participants who highlighted the problem of the mushrooming squatter camps in Ekurhuleni and across South Africa which is exacerbated by the lack of land for housing purposes.
They argued that, the problem would only be stopped and permanently resolved by the availability of land for building of proper and decent houses for the people.
There were participants who raised the question of the cut-off date for land that will be considered for expropriation. They suggested that the land that must be considered for expropriation should include all the land that was forcefully and violently taken from its rightful owners since the arrival of settlers in 1652 in the Cape of Good Hope.
Like in Soshanguve, Westonaria and Vereeniging public hearings, the majority of Germiston residents emphasised their optimism that the amended Section 25 will be a catalyst that will inevitably return back the land that was violently taken from its rightful owners, a move they said, would be a first progressive step in the right direction of redressing the injustices of the past.
Despite the overwhelming support for the Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill, there were participants during the hearings who expressed their opposition to the view of amendment which was in the majority. The opposition was also based on the failed land expropriations programmes in other countries.
Furthermore, they said there is currently no clarity on how the land will be expropriated, and how beneficiaries will be supported to ensure that land will be utilised productively.
The delegation will conduct the hearings in Limpopo and Northern Cape provinces.
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE LEADER OF THE DELEGATION, DR MATHOLE MOTSHEKGA
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