Land: The people speak - 'Forefathers compensated enough'

2018-08-04 15:54

"Our forefathers compensated enough," a speaker told the Joint Constitutional Review Committee's final hearing on amending Section 25 of the Constitution in Goodwood on Saturday.

The meeting followed the pattern of the previous hearings all over the country: the majority of the participants support amending the Constitution to allow expropriation without compensation, with most of the opposition to an amendment coming from whites, while some Khoi-San people questioned the process.

A woman from Somerset West, who said she supports the ACDP, said she doesn't support an amendment. 

"We are the best nation in the world. Together, we're going to find a solution," she said.

"We need to see the force of the mighty god," she said.

"I know there is a deep pain. Much harm has been done to our people."

Similar to the hearings in the Northern Cape and the other meetings in the Western Cape, several speakers identified as Khoi-San. Their general feeling is that a discussion about amending the Constitution shouldn't be had without the Khoi-San, as they are the first nation inhabiting South Africa.

To a loud cheer, a man said: "Historically this land belongs to the Khoikhoi and the San people."

"This land was invaded by the Dutch with the barrel of a gun, they made our people drunk," he said. "Then it was invaded by the Nguni."

Nel Pieters of the First Indigenous Nation of Southern Africa said: "As an elder, I demand respect as I speak!" 

"Section 25 cannot be discussed or reviewed without representatives of the first nation's people," he said.

"This land belongs to the Khoi and San!"

A woman representing the South African Homeless People's Association said the issue at hand is how just and equitable compensation is understood.

"Twenty-four years of liberal democracy increased poverty," she said.

"The masses are worse of because of the willing buyer willing seller principle."

She says this only works among equals, not between the rich and the poor.

"Apartheid continues via the market."

A man said: "We are going to take the land, even if it means we're going back to the dark ages."

"This country must be African. We are African."

Several farmworkers spoke in support for expropriation without compensation.

Bettie Fortuin from De Doorns said she "speaks through the mouth of a farmworker".

"We who till the land, never had any land," she said.

Several farmworkers also called for an end to evictions.

"Farmworkers is the salt of the earth, but they don’t get the recognition they deserve," a man said.

The conservative lobby group AfriForum, who doesn't support land reform, came in for some hits for their opposition to amending the Constitution.

"Don’t come and invite Donald Trump to our country," a speaker said in reference to AfriForum's recent trip to the US where they met with conservatives and spoke to alt-right news channels about the proposed amendment.

A man in a Freedom Front Plus T-shirt said his forebears have been farming in the Western Cape for the past 300 years.

"When my forefathers came, they found no one but the Khoi and the San," he said.

"My people got what they have in this country not by theft, not by genocide, but by fair means."

He claimed Afrikaners had a stabilising effect on South Africa when they got here.

Committee co-chairperson Vincent Smith on a few occasions had to ask the audience to remain quiet. The hearing was very well attended, with several people milling outside the Friends of God Church in Goodwood in Cape Town's Northern Suburbs when the meeting got underway at around 11:00. The hall was also packed, with several people occupying the galleries.

The meeting continues. 

Read more on:    land expropriation  |  land hearings  |  land

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