South Africa: Land - the People Speak - Amending Constitution Like 'Leading Israelites Out of Egypt'

(file photo).

A Bible and a title deed were waved at the Constitutional Review Committee's hearing on amending section 25 of the Constitution on Thursday in Upington.

Jan Daniels stood at the microphone, Bible in hand.

"There is only one landowner," he said. "God said he gave the earth to us to live on and to work. It belongs to all of us.

"I support wholeheartedly what is going on here," he said. "The Lord is taking a decision like when he led the Israelites out of Egypt."

Albertus Vermeulen, chairperson of the Doringfontein Farmers' Union, said to farm successfully, a title deed is required. He waved around a title deed document as he spoke. He said the reason for that was because to farm successfully one needed the bank and farmers' cooperation behind you, which was unlikely without a title deed.

"To farm is very capital intensive."

Marius Rooi of the National African Farmers' Union said they did not have land that they could get a title deed for.

"We don't have land. We really want to farm, but our land was taken away from us."

'This isn't the boere's place'

He said he supported expropriation without compensation 100%.

"Give it back to its rightful owners, so that we too can have title deeds," he said.

Many speakers referred to their Khoi-San heritage and said that the land should be returned to them without compensation having to be paid, often to applause and cheers from people in the hall.

Hans Springbok, 73, said he remembered the apartheid days when they had to buy things through stores' windows.

"I have land laws that [former president] Thabo Mbeki signed, now you're coming with another thing," he said.

"Ons is moeg vir 'n stokkielekker om aan te suie (We're tired of lollipops to suck on)!"

"Please give back the Khoi-San's land," he said.

"We're sick and tired. Give to the Khoi-San what belongs to them.

"This isn't the Boere's place this, it's the Khoi-San's place!" he said to cheers.

Ralph Cloete said he was not against land reform, but he was against amending the Constitution.

Kuruman, Tzaneen next

"Whose land will they take? Are they going to take President (Cyril) Ramaphosa's land? Are they only going to take the boere's land? Or are they going to take everybody's land?"

When he said some people support amending section 25, but don't know what they are supporting, some in the hall yelled "Gaan weg! (Go away!)". Committee co-chairperson Lewis Nzimande asked them to be quiet.

Jan Badenhorst of AfriForum also got a few jeers when he said the people would have to account to God one day for how they handled the issue.

Nzimande also asked those jeering Badenhorst to allow him to give his opinion.

The committee is split in two, with one subcommittee tackling hearing in the inland provinces, and the other in the coastal provinces. The coastal committee will go to Kuruman, also in the Northern Cape on Friday, and the inland committee will go to Tzaneen, in Limpopo.

Source: News24

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