Parliament, Saturday, 22 May 2021 – The Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure successfully held its second leg of public hearings in KwaZulu-Natal on the Expropriation Bill, in Ulundi where it heard more than 50 oral submissions yesterday.

The Chairperson of the Committee, Ms Nolitha Ntobongwana, said in her opening remarks that the government had taken care of the minority in the past, it is now time to repeal the Expropriation Act 63 of 1975 which was adopted by the then apartheid government, in the interest of the majority with nil compensation. Furthermore, she said the Bill provides norms and standards for all expropriating authorities to expropriate land and buildings in the interest of the public.

Ms Ntobongwana encouraged the people in the hall to freely express their views on the Bill. The meeting was attended by amakhozi, representatives of political parties, religious leaders, representatives of civic organisations and individuals. After Ms Ntobongwana called for acceptable decorum in the hall, a certain female member of the Democratic Alliance (DA) became unruly and she ordered her to leave the hall. She was followed by other members of the DA after they expressed their views on the Bill.

The residents who are living on Ingonyama Trust land expressed contrasting views on the future ownership of the Ingonyama Trust land. Some told the committee that the land must not be tampered with, others argued that it should be given to amakhosi and izinduna to own and manage it on behalf of their subjects. They were in support of the expropriation Bill.

The residents told the committee that the Bill must be implemented because it is supported by the majority of the people. They called for the return of the land to the majority of the people. They said the appropriation of land must be followed by provision of resources to the new beneficiaries and they must be empowered with the skills to enable them to use the land productively

One of the farm workers told the committee that he worked all his life on a farm which was bought by the government and was given to a certain person. He said he represented farm workers who had applied for the farm. He asked the committee about the criteria used for awarding farms to the people if those who had worked on it were unable to get it. He said they support the implementation of the Bill as the land must be returned to those who work it.

Farm dwellers told the committee about the severe conditions under which they live on the farms. They told the committee that if they speak freely that could cost them and their families a place to sleep tonight. They said the government must expropriate the land that is owned by white farmers who own thousands of hectares of land whereas black people don’t have land. They said they support the expropriation of land without compensation as they have been working on these farms all their lives and gained nothing after that.

Ms Ntobongwana told the participants who expressed land claims related concerns that the committee has noted those concerns, and she assured them that the committee will refer their concerns to the Department of Land Reform and Rural Development. Furthermore, Ms Ntobongwana appreciated their views which she said will inevitably go to strengthen the Bill.


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