South Africa: Land - the People Speak - Public Hearings Head to Upington and Mokopane

With the first two public hearings into the possible amendment of section 25 of the Constitution complete, the majority of participants have come out in favour of changing the Constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation.

The hearings before the Constitutional Review Committee are expected to resume on Thursday, with one being held in Upington, Northern Cape, and the other in Mokopane, Limpopo.

On Wednesday Limpopo's first hearing got underway in Mable Hall, where the majority of the public in attendance were in favour of amending section 25. The minority who were against it were heckled by the crowd.

The hearing also took a hostile turn when EFF commander-in-chief Julius Malema and Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota got into a heated exchange following claims by Lekota that the process was staged.

Malema and Lekota confronted each other in a tense standoff in the jam-packed Marble Hall town hall. The crowd showed its support for Malema, repeatedly chanting "Juju", as the EFF leader is affectionately known to his followers.

Lekota, who was seated next to Malema eventually got up and moved to another seat.

Lekota 'emotional'

After the public hearings ended, Malema told News24 that Lekota believed the entire process was staged because Malema had pointed out people that chairperson Vincent Smith should recognise to make submissions to the committee.

"I said to him 'as a member of Parliament you are allowed to chair, if you think its staged, take a mic and choose people yourself because I also do the same thing. When I see people, I say chair, recognise that person'," Malema said.

Malema added that Lekota was losing the debate on the land question and had become emotional as a result.

Lekota said that he was unhappy that Malema was telling the chairperson which people to recognise and that those people were given extra time to speak, so he confronted Malema during the sitting.

"He must not be telling the chairperson who to point at and secondly how long he can talk. He was specifically urging the chairperson to not stop a man who had already gone over his time, because he wanted that man to talk," Lekota said.

On Tuesday, during the Northern Cape's first sitting in Concordia, most participants were initially against amending section 25 but later in the day this trend changed, with many speakers calling on section 25 to be amended and expressing their support for the EFF.

Source: News24

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