South Africa: Land - the People Speak - Political Parties' Presence Felt At Public Hearing

(file photo).

Political parties made their presence felt at the final public hearing of the Constitutional Review Committee in the Northern Cape.

Members of the public in the Kimberley City Hall cheered on speakers fiercely expressing their support of the EFF on Saturday afternoon.

In the morning, it was difficult to discern whether the majority in the hall supported amending Section 25 of the Constitution, often called the property clause.

However, tn the afternoon session those supporting an amendment that would allow expropriation without compensation had the upper hand.

Speakers saying they were members of the EFF and ANC expressed their support for amending the Constitution, while members of Cope and the DA argued against it.

There were also at least three self-confessed zama-zama's (illegal miners) who said they supported expropriation without compensation.

Those supporting an amendment to Section 25 blamed whites for historic dispossession and their failure to make amends with regards to inequality since 1994, while those against an amendment blamed government for failing to implement land reform successfully.

Phillip du Toit, an EFF member, said "Afri-racist-forum", Steve Hofmeyr and other racists must stop their fear-mongering.

"If you want to move to Australia, you're welcome to move," he said. "They (whites) must be thankful that we are engaging them peacefully."

He also criticised black people opposing expropriation without compensation.

"You are sellouts to your own people! How do you sleep at night!"

"We are dispossessed, that needs to be rectified," he concluded.

DA provincial leader Andrew Louw said the attempt to amend the Constitution was to "divert attention away from the failures of government".

"The problem has never been the Constitution," he said.

A common point raised by opponents of amending Section 25 is that it will endanger food security.

'Apartheid tax'

"Food security for who?" asked ANC-member Maropeng Mokwadi. "Most people in South Africa is languishing in poverty."

He said it is a fallacy that there would be anarchy in South Africa if land were to be expropriated without compensation and that those who benefitted from dispossession should pay "apartheid tax".

Benita Coetsee of Cope said the motion to amend the Constitution wasn't honest.

"The movers of this motion are feeding us a big, fat lie and the public is falling for it," she said.

"Nobody in here will ever have a title deed (if Section 25 is amended). If we agree to this we will all stay beggars for land."

She said the problem is the incompetence and corruption of successive ANC governments.

Saturday's meeting concluded the committee's Northern Cape sojourn.

Next week the committee will move to the Free State. The other part of the committee also concluded its work in Limpopo on Saturday and will move to Mpumalanga next week.

Source: News24

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