Parliament, Monday, 2 July 2018 – Public hearings for the Free State delegation of the Joint Constitutional Review Committee saw a packed hall in Botshabelo, Mangaung – not even the extremely cold weather keeping the public away.
An overwhelming number of the people making oral submissions today were in favour of amending section 25 of the Constitution to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation. The committee was instructed by the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces to ascertain whether a review of section 25 of the Constitution and other clauses is necessary to make it possible for the state to expropriate land in the public interest without compensation, and propose the necessary constitutional amendments where necessary.
The Co-Chairperson of the committee, Mr Lewis Nzimande, praised the orderly crowd that gathered since early morning to make their voices heard on the matter. He expressed gratitude to the public that braved the cold weather to make sure Parliament heard their voices.
The committee is holding public hearings in the Free State until Wednesday. The committee heard that some members of the public supported the amendment as it will create jobs. Some presenters indicated that the government should be unapologetic when it takes land as land is an integral part of the struggle for freedom. The committee also heard that some families were forced off their land in the country, which is now prime property at lucrative prices, which will be unaffordable to ordinary South Africans. Submitters said it was not only land that was stolen, it was cattle as well. Rural women said: “One hectare, one woman.”
One presenter felt the land should rather be equally distributed between all South Africans, irrespective of colour, whilst another felt a compromise position would be to rather make farms compliant to Black Economic Empowerment and skills transfer rather than just taking away farms. Others felt food security and livelihood would be threatened by amending section 25 of the Constitution.
Mr Nzimande praised the meeting. “The public has been extremely patient and orderly. When the venue was full, they patiently queued outside until they could be accommodated inside to have a say, whilst the proceedings were audible outside in the cold for an opportunity to speak. We heard divergent views on this matter, all of which we take very seriously,” said Mr Nzimande.
Mr Nzimande emphasized that all South African are welcome at the hearings and that the committee does not share the view that white people were not needed at the hearings.
“The great numbers we have seen at the hearings so far are an indication of the critical importance of land.”
Members of the media intending to attend the hearings should please send their details (name, media house and contact details) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please find the link for the updated programme for the public hearings https://tinyurl.com/yb9yvalx
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CO-CHAIRPERSON OF THE JOINT CONSTITUTIONAL REVIEW COMMITTEE, MR LEWIS NZIMANDE.
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