The Limpopo Province's Capricon District Municipality's House of Traditional Leaders told the Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure yesterday that they demand consultation and empowerment from Parliament on the Expropriations Bill.
This is an overarching message that was conveyed to the committee during its last of the four public hearings in the province for the amendment of the Expropriation Bill. The hearings took place at Jack Botes Hall in Polokwane Local Municipality.
Yesterday's hearings were attended by nine local royal traditional council authorities (Makgoshi). These were the Machaka, Mathabatha, Mababolo, Malepo, Makgoba, Ledwaba, Seakamela, Malebokgo and Ditlou-Machidi local royal traditional council authorities.
Speaker after speaker raised a number of similar concerns regarding the current form of the Expropriation Bill, in particular the duration of the long over-due process to finalise and enact the Bill. The Makgoshi felt strongly that, "Parliament or the committee dismally failed to follow the proper consultation procedures as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa."
The local royal traditional authorities complained that:
The committee should have first consulted and empowered them regarding the whole process of these public hearings in order to engage their respective local communities, as they are the ones on the ground dealing with practical land and property-related problems on a daily basis. Instead, they were undermined and only invited to this public hearing, as is always the case.
They are disappointed with the committee and feel disempowered and disrespected.
Parliament must tell them when is this process will come to an end, when the land to be given back to their rightful owners, that is kings, chiefs and deserving community members.
Parliament must also tell the Limpopo provincial government to recognize the local royal traditional authorities. When this happens, traditional leaders will surely respect and support any government development processes.
Why the committee is taking so long to resolve this issue? Traditional leaders were expecting detailed feedback yesterday. Parliament must respond on all these matters.
"As the local traditional council authorities of the Capricon District Municipality, we agree and fully support the committee's Expropriation Amendment Bill... but you must always remember the issue of land expropriation is not new, particularly Section 25. Traditional leaders long fought for land dating back from the 16th to the early 19th century. We humbly request finalisation of this process, before people all over the country begin to feel emotional and decide to take the law into their hands," said Kgoshi Ngoako Malebogo, who is the Chairperson of the Limpopo Local House of Traditional Leaders in the Capricorn District Municipality.
Ms Nolitha Ntobongwana, the Chairperson of the committee, said: "We will never ever forget where we come from, that our kings, chiefs and our forefathers fought for the land we live in, and where we are today. We understand where you come from in terms of your collective inputs. We genuinely respect Makgoshi and sincerely apologise where we made mistakes and thank you again all the local royal local authorities for bracing our public meeting, your presence and contribution is so humbling and much appreciated indeed."