Parliament, Friday, 7 May 2021 – West Rand residents have proposed that land owned by foreigners, farms abandoned by mining companies and land forcefully confiscated by the former apartheid government must be expropriated without compensation. However, the expropriated land must only be handed to farmers or willing residents with the relevant expertise and knowledge to productively farm the land.
Some residents, who oppose the Bill, raised concerns around contradictory clauses in its current draft and the possibility of corruption following the expropriation of the land. They asked Parliament to ensure that expropriated land is not handed to people with political connections or those employed in the public service.
They also cautioned Parliament not to allow organisations or individuals to mobilise or divide South Africans along racial lines during this highly politicised and sensitive process to return the land to its rightful owners.
The majority of residents and organisations, who addressed the Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure’s public hearing held at the West Rand District Municipality’s Chief Mogale Community Hall in Kagiso, requested that the expropriated land be impartially distributed for the benefit all South Africans.
West Rand youth structures raised concerns about supporting the Bill as they do not see any projects aimed at preparing them to work the land. They asked the Members of Parliament to encourage relevant government departments and local municipalities to introduce and coordinate training programmes aimed at producing future farmers.
Together with most residents, they proposed that land owned by government departments and the municipality be made available for agricultural and industrial development projects in order to improve the performance of the local, provincial and national economy. They reminded Members of the Portfolio Committee that they “don’t just want land to farm, we also want land for industrial hives to be developed, leading to jobs and a functioning economy”.
Committee Chairperson, Ms. Nolitha Ntobongwana, thanked the residents for their contributions and assured them that Parliament will carefully consider all submissions. She further guaranteed that all issues raised would be referred to the relevant departments for them to be resolved.
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC WORKS AND INFRASTRUCTURE, MS NOLITHA NTOBONGWANA.
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