South Africa: Delegation of the Ad Hoc Committee Concludes Northern Cape Leg of Public Hearings

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The Ad Hoc Committee to Initiate and Introduce Legislation Amending Section 25 of the Constitution to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation has today concluded its Northern Cape leg of the public hearings in Springbok.

This week the committee held hearings in De Aar, Kimberly, Upington and Springbok; where the leader of the delegation, Dr Mathole Motshekga, utilised the opportunity to speak strongly against the scourge of gender-based violence, especially the abuse of women and children. All of us, he said, must be self-appointed protectors of women and children, who are the foundation of this country. "Oliver Tambo taught us, no country has a future unless it protects its women and children," he said.

Dr Motshekga also gave recognition to the plight of the Nama Royal Nation, which includes diverse communities of a great nation found in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. Like all other nations, he said the Nama people deserve to have their culture, identity and dignity restored. Dr Motshekga told the people of Northern Cape, that Parliament realises the need to fast-track the recognition of the Nama language as one of the official languages, alongside the Khelobedu and Sign language.

The delegation this week observed, through the submissions from residents, the urgent need for land redistribution in the vast areas of the Northern Cape. The majority of residents of the Springbok communities today echoed the sentiments of the residents of De Aar, Kimberley and Upington, stating that the process of amending section 25 of the Constitution should be fast-tracked.

One such resident, Ms Jillian Peters, told the delegation that the previously disadvantaged and people living in poverty cannot continue being beggars in the land of their birth. "We are not here to say grab the land, we are here to say that we also want land," she said while stating her support for the amendments.

A large number of residents are in high hopes that the amendments to section 25 will address the injustices of the past, which have left many families without land and stuck in poverty-stricken conditions. Municipal Manager in the Nama Khoi Municipality, Ms Samantha Titus-Tatus, told the delegation that "it's time that land issues are laid to rest, our people have been suffering too long. This process is about redressing the injustices of the past, and not just about land grabbing".

Notwithstanding these views, some residents recognise the need for land reform but do not support the amendment of the Constitution. Speaking to the effects of expropriation without compensation, Mr Gert Coetzee told the delegation that no economy will grow if there is no compensation. He is further of the view that the "willing buyer, willing seller" policy should be maintained.

The delegation notes the concerns which indicate that there are tendencies to create a Volkstad in the Eureka area. Dr Motshekga said: "We want to reiterate that our Constitution grants the right of self-determination to all the people of South Africa, both black and white, in one South Africa. Any such tendencies violate the fundamental laws of the country, adopted by all the people of South Africa, both black and white."

Dr Motshekga also expressed his gratitude to the people of the Northern Cape who have peacefully and diligently participated in the hearings held this week. Despite the capacity challenges related to the National State of Disaster rules, residents peacefully waited for their turn to enter the halls to make their submissions. Speaking to the many challenges raised, Dr Motshekga said some of these challenges might not directly be related to amending section 25, but the issues are as important and will be raised with the relevant departments.

More From: Parliament of South Africa

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