Land: Let the people speak - Tears, boos and a mention of Nkandla as Gauteng has its say

2018-07-26 16:43
Co-chair Vincent Smith. (Lulama Zenzile, Gallo Images, Beeld, file)

Co-chair Vincent Smith. (Lulama Zenzile, Gallo Images, Beeld, file)

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The start of the Gauteng leg of Parliament's Joint Constitutional Review Committee's land hearings was highly emotional, as residents gathered to say what they thought about expropriation of land without compensation.

Attendees booed as one resident spoke out against the move.

"The government, if they want to take the land from the people they must start with Nkandla," Toekomsrus resident Farren Volgraaf told the packed hall.

She was just one of many who had gone to the West Rand Civic centre to make oral submissions.

She also warned that private property, including "houses" and "cars", were at risk.

When Volgraaf was booed, joint committee co-chair Vincent Smith asked residents to allow opposing views.

The committee has been travelling across the country, holding hearings to hear South Africans' views on the amendment of Section 25 of the Constitution to allow expropriation of land without compensation.

ALSO READ: Tshwane residents unhappy as hearings hit Gauteng

In February, Parliament passed an EFF-sponsored motion for the expropriation of land without compensation and the committee was instructed to investigate if there was a need to amend the Constitution to make this possible.

On Thursday, Smith had to defend numerous speakers throughout the day and even asked party representatives to speak to their supporters.

Small venue

He also apologised for the small venue, reiterating what he previously told News24 - that the committee did not expect such a huge turnout.

"I apologise profoundly for the venue. I underestimated the interest South Africans had on this issue," Smith said at the start of proceedings.

Some were overcome with emotion as Zanele Madi, dressed in her pyjamas, broke down in tears as she relayed her story of sleeping out in the cold.

Madi said she and several others had been chased out of their settlement by the Red Ants.

"We have been sleeping on the streets. We don’t have anywhere to go," said Madi.

She said she had attended the hearing to tell the committee she supported constitutional amendments.

'Our problems are foreign nationals'

A white woman, who did not introduce herself, told the joint committee that she was from Cosmo City where she said there was an issue with foreign nationals in the townships.

"There are South Africans in squatter camps. They are South African, and they are suffering but there are foreign nationals sitting in our houses," said the resident.

"Return our land! I have been born here, I will grow old here and if I have to die here, I will die here," she shouted before making her way out of the hall.

The Gauteng leg of the hearings is expected to continue tomorrow in Vereeniging.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  land expropriation  |  land

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