Parliament, Sunday, 23 May 2021 – The Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure today concluded its four-day public hearings on the Expropriation Bill in the province of KwaZulu-Natal.
An overwhelming majority of residents in Umzinyathi, Zululand, King Cetshwayo and eThekwini districts where the hearings were conducted, supported the Bill. They argued that expropriation of land is a non-negotiable issue in South Africa to redress the injustice of dispossession of the majority of South Africans their land through the system of colonialism.
The residents told the committee at Richards Bay’s KwaMandlazini Hall that they needed land to build a police station and a clinic as there is currently no land to build those very important centres of service. Farmworkers told the committee in Dundee, Ulundi and KwaMandlazini that they need land for cemeteries and that they do not have access to the graves of their relatives on the farms.
KwaMandlazini residents told the committee that they believe that the implementation of the Bill is urgent and will mark the beginning of the alleviation of socio-economic problems such as unemployment and poverty. The youth told the committee that the government must ensure that expropriation of the land is followed by empowerment of the new land recipients and provision of resources to work the land.
The absence of some traditional leaders at Ulundi and KwaMandlazini hearings concerned the residents at both venues. The Chairperson of the committee, Ms Nolitha Ntobongwana, informed the residents that the committee had extended an invitation to all the stakeholders that included the National and Provincial Houses of Traditional Leaders, labour organisations, civic based organisations, political parties, religious and cultural organisations to the public hearings. She said the committee hoped that traditional leaders would be present at the public hearings venues with their people and express their views on the Bill.
The residents who opposed the Bill stated that there were sections in the Bill that made it difficult to oppose it. Furthermore, they argued that the Bill may also have unintended consequences such as to discourage local and foreign investors in property in the country at a time when the same country is mobilising investors around the world to invest in the country.
As some of the residents raised issues related to the Land Restitution process during the public hearings, Ms Ntobongwana emphasised that the committee is driven by Section 59 of the Constitution which allowed the people to raise issues related to the Bill. She said, issues outside the ambit of the Bill will be referred to the attention of the relevant parliamentary committees for the attention of the relevant government departments.
Ms Ntobongwana assured the residents at all the districts where the public hearings were conducted that the committee will consider all their views on the Bill at Parliament at the end of the public hearings.
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC WORKS AND INFRASTRUCTURE, MS NOLITHA NTOBOGWANA.
For media enquiries or interviews with the Chairperson, please contact the committee’s Media Officer:
Name: Sureshinee Govender
Parliamentary Communication Services
Tel: 021 403 2239
Cell: 081 704 1109
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