Tshwane residents want the Expropriation Bill to be fair and resolve the issue of land ownership. Traditional leaders, political party representatives and members of the public in the Tshwane Metropolitan Municipal area yesterday expressed their full support for the parliamentary process to finalise the Bill.
The Expropriation Bill provides for the expropriation of property, for a public purpose or in the public interest, and in certain instances for expropriation without compensation where appropriate. The residents emphasised that it is ironic that the land that was forcefully taken from its legitimate owners, now has to be expropriated through democratic public hearing processes and national laws to pacify current land owners.
The Bill, they said, will put the land back into the hands of its rightful owners. Traditional leaders who spoke at the public hearings yesterday also expressed their unconditional support for the Bill. They called on Parliament to speedily conclude the current process and to approve the Bill.
Citizens who addressed the Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure at the Bronkhorstspruit Sports complex concurred that their demand for the return of the land must not be seen as corrupt or criminal, but as a constitutional right for each and every South African citizen to lawfully own land.
They said the current parliamentary-driven process must be aimed at democratically and legally resolving the issue of land ownership. Although participants differed on the implementation of the Bill, they thanked Parliament for the process it has embarked upon. The participants called on the committee to ensure greater consultation and involvement of ordinary citizens in the expropriation process and to guarantee fairness and its successful conclusion.
The Tshwane residents asked the committee to also consider communal land owned by or under the curatorship of traditional leaders, which must also be returned to the people. In addition, the government must also deal with tribal authorities claiming ownership instead of looking after the land on behalf of the people.
Some residents expressed concern and asked for clarity on references to "expropriation of property" in the introductory clause of the Bill. They said the issue of land owned by former citizens no longer staying in South Africa, including land owned by foreigners must be dealt with. Furthermore, they said the government must finalise land claims already submitted.
Committee Chairperson Ms Nolitha Ntobongwana expressed her appreciation for the important inputs received. "All views expressed will be carefully considered and influence the committee's final submission to parliament," she said.
Today the committee will hear the views of Mogale City Municipality's residents at the Chief Mogale Community Hall, Kagiso. The public hearing will start at 10am and conclude at 3pm.