Parliament, Sunday, 08 March 2020 – The Ad Hoc Committee to Initiate and Introduce Legislation Amending Section 25 of the Constitution to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation has concluded the Kwazulu-Natal Province leg of public hearings in Kokstad today.
Over the past few days the delegation held public hearings in Mtubatuba, Vryheid, Winterton and Kokstad where the large majority of residents called for the speedy amendment of Section 25 of the Constitution and speedy implementation of the amendment thereafter.
A large number of oral submissions that were made during the hearings proposed that the state must be the custodian of all South Africa’s natural resources that include land, mineral resources, and water.
There were residents in the same hearings who highlighted a view that the appropriated land should be administered by traditional authorities on behalf of the people.
Several submissions made reference to Section 2, which states that “subject to compensation, the amount of which and the time and manner of payment of which have either been agreed to by those affected or decided or approved by a court”. This section, according to them, should be revised to allow the Executive Authority and not the courts to decide or approve. They said the courts should be a last resort.
At all the venues, the delegation was told that the redistribution of the expropriated land should be accompanied by other resources such as money to ensure that the redistribution of the expropriated land is unlike the “willing buyer, willing seller” and Land Claims redistribution processes.
There were also views that were also highlighted that the government should start with the land that was redistributed through the “willing buyer, willing seller” and Land Claims processes. Furthermore, the people argued that the land the government still owns must be redistributed and the unused farms under its control are also redistributed to the people.
The delegation heard a number of opposing views to the amendment of Section 25 of the Constitution. In Winterton yesterday, Ms Adele Slater: “We live in a country where historically, many groups have arbitrarily taken land from other groups, and it will be extremely naïve to think that this law will not be used against other groups at some stage”. The bill, she said, will set a precedent for unlawful land grabs and exploitation.
Mr Roland Henderson of Kokstad said that communities that include farmers, farm workers, restitution land claimants and other relevant stakeholders should be allowed to develop trusts and discuss their future together. He told the committee that he believed that approach will yield good results.
Residents of the Khoisan community in Kokstad told the delegation that the land belongs to the people of Khoisan descent. They said in their oral submissions that the farms which were redistributed to the people are now unproductive.
They suggested that expropriation should be done with compensation, to ensure that those from whom the land will be expropriated, also benefit and to ensure that they participate in any economic development that the expropriated land will be used, for the benefit of all the people of South Africa.
Advocate Bongani Bongo reiterated the importance of public participation during the week-long public hearings in the KwaZulu Natal Province. He said: "The views of the people in the law-making process are very important, and Parliament cannot make a decision without consulting the people. The intention of these hearings was to get as many views as possible" Advocate Bongo thanked the residents for the contributions he said are valuable. Furthermore, he said, making or amending legislation should always be done in a democratic dignified manner.
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE LEADER OF THE DELEGATION, ADV BONGANI BONGO.
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