South Africa: Land - the People Speak - 'Get Britain to Pay for the Land'

Farmers at Fezeka food garden in Gugulethu in Cape Town, South Africa (file photo).

The Constitutional Review Committee's public hearing on land expropriation in Kimberley heard that Britain should be approached to help finance land redistribution in South Africa.

This is one of the more unique proposals made to the committee in the Northern Cape, where it has been the past week, stopping in Concordia, Upington, Kuruman and now on Saturday in Kimberley.

Louis de Kock, a farmer from Barkly West, said it was the British governor of the Cape Colony Sir Henry Barkly who decided that the land where the meeting was taking place should be taken from the Griekwa's, who was moved to Griekwastad.

"Most land was removed from people by governments," he said. He said it would not be right to take it from individuals.

"We should unite our nation with this problem," he said.

"We should ask the British government to help with the funding of giving the land back," he said.

"If you just take the land from somebody else, you just shift the problem."

Right after him Kagiso Mokone spoke, wearing ANC colours.

"There is no unity without land. There is no justice without land. Land is everything to black people. How do you make peace without land?"

He claimed white people were arrogant. "They want us to buy land that was stolen."

By 13:00 there wasn't a clear trend, with several speakers speaking for, and several speaking against, amending Section 25.

The general argument in favour of amending the Constitution to allow for expropriation without compensation was based thereon that indigenous people were dispossessed of their land without compensation, impoverishing the people and destroying their culture and pride.

Expropriation without compensation was viewed as a remedy to this.

The hearing was held in the Kimberley City Hall, in De Beers Road.

Josias Kas told how his family's farm Rooipoort was taken by De Beers, his father kicked off the farm without a pension and how his family have been roaming through the Northern Cape since in search of shelter.

"De Beers ry nou nog my diamante weg (De Beers are still taking my diamonds away)!" he said. "Ek soek my plek. (I want my place)."

An EFF supporter from Barkly West said "European thugs" came to South Africa to dispossess the land.

"White people must be very glad we want equality, not revenge," she said.

She argued whites shouldn't even be taking part in the debate, but she understands that's how democracy works.

She also said women must be first in line "when dishing out land".

The general argument against amending Section 25 was that it will have dire economic consequences and that it isn't necessary to amend Section 25 to achieve meaningful land reform.

Nicol Jansen of Agri Northern Cape said expropriation without compensation will destroy the value of land.

"Why first destroy the value and then return it to the people?" he asked.

"We must do better with land reform than this. The people deserve better than this. Give people title deeds," he said.

Solelo Seretse said he doesn't support amending Section 25. He said some land has been given to black people, but they have not been given title deeds.

"Correct that first before you come here and talk about giving the land back to people!" he said.

There was a slight disturbance when some members of the public seemed unhappy with the process of determining the order of the speakers.

Committee co-chairperson Lewis Nzimande asked for order and explained the process again, with the protection services' personnel in close attendance. The man who seemed most aggrieved left the hall.

The meeting continues.

Source: News24

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