Land: The people speak - Committee for land hearing denies moving Tshwane event because of political pressure

2018-07-28 12:57

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Parliament's Joint Constitutional Review Committee on the expropriation of land has denied suggestions that it changed the venue for its final stop in Gauteng due to pressure from "any political party or civic organisation".

Co-chair of the committee Vincent Smith said on Saturday that the only consideration they made was to create an environment that was conducive for fruitful hearings.

"This decision was taken to ensure that the people coming to the hearings present their view in an environment that will ensure maximum productive participation," he said in a statement.

This comes after residents in Tshwane complained that the venue in Pretoria West was far too small, with some threatening that the hearings would not take place if a new venue was not found. The Tshwane hearings, which are taking place on Saturday, were moved to the Heartfelt Arena in Thaba Tshwane.

Read: Land: The people speak - Tshwane residents unhappy as hearings hit Gauteng

More than 1 000 people were at the venue when the hearings began on Saturday. 

Smith said the committee had received more people than it had expected at all hearings held so far.

"It was thus important that a bigger venue, that can cater for a larger group of people, be found considering that the Tshwane hearings will be over a weekend," he emphasised. 

EFF 'deeply disappointed'

The EFF in Tshwane had said it was "deeply disappointed by the lack of proper consultation with stakeholders" on the decision to change the venue. 

"The people of Tshwane have expressed great interest in this meeting and as the EFF we are concerned that thousands of our people who are eager to participate in this meeting will be denied an opportunity to do so because of the last minute change of the venue," it said.

Land: The people speak - Tshwane hearings move to larger venue

The EFF also expressed concern over what was going to happen to people who were not aware of this change and who will thus go to the venue in Pretoria West.

Smith said while the committee acknowledged that the decision was taken later than it should have, it was assured by the City of Tshwane that measures would be put in place to transport people from the initial venue to the new venue.

"Furthermore, emergency communications initiatives were undertaken to make people and stakeholders aware of the venue change. The committee remains confident that the change of venue will in no way adversely impact the hearings and that adequate measures have been put in place to mitigate any inconvenience that might have been caused by the change of venue," he said.

Two delegations from the committee have been conducting public hearings across the country to hear South Africans' views on whether or not Section 25 of the Constitution should be amended to allow expropriation without compensation.

Read more on:    pretoria  |  johannesburg  |  land expropriation  |  land hearings  |  land

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