South Africa: Land - the People Speak - 'Traditional Leaders Are Making Us Suffer'

President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing members of the community in Mvezo in the Eastern Cape as part of the Centenary Celebrations of Nelson Mandela.

While several members of the Mahikeng community recognised and respected the role of traditional leaders in the ongoing land debate, some raised concerns over their treatment of people who live on land under their control.

Parliament's Constitutional Review Committee stopped in the North West city on Wednesday, where a hall full of residents across the political spectrum shared their views on whether the Constitution needed to be amended to allow expropriation of land without compensation.

This is part of ongoing public hearings into the much-contested and emotive land issue, following a successful motion the EFF brought in the National Assembly.

Committee members, including its chairperson Vincent Smith, EFF commander-in-chief Julius Malema and Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota, listened as most community members motivated for expropriation without compensation.

However, SA Federation of Trade Unions North West convenor Puseletso Modise wanted the government to nationalise all land, including land under traditional leadership, such as the controversial Ingonyama Trust.

Land debates have raised the ire of traditional leaders, who want their land to remain untouched.

Recently, Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini held an imbizo to discuss the matter - a move which some described as a show of force and war talk. Leaders also moved swiftly to allay any concerns traditional leaders had about the land issue.

But it was the sad plea of Charlotte Bokgosi from Makgobistad village which caught the attention of some. She begged the committee to not make traditional leaders custodians of land in the country.

"Traditional leaders are making us suffer," she said, as members of the public supported and egged her on to continue.

Outside the hall, she told News24 that people living on tribal land would be in "trouble" if chiefs and traditional leaders were to be made the custodians of that land.

"They want to do things for just themselves, to eat alone. They do not have the interests of their communities at heart," said Bokgosi.

She said leaders in the country didn't understand the levels of oppression experienced by people living on tribal land.

Hearings continue on Thursday in Jozini in KwaZulu-Natal and Rustenburg in the North West.

Source: News24

See What Everyone is Watching

More From: News24Wire

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 800 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.