Land: The people speak - Mahikeng and Vryheid have their turn to air their views

2018-07-18 05:25

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Residents of Mahikeng in the North West and Vryheid in KwaZulu-Natal are next on the list of members of the public who will have a chance to air their views on the expropriation of land without compensation on Wednesday.

Two delegations of Parliament's joint constitutional review committee are travelling through the country to gauge whether Section 25 of the Constitution should be amended to allow expropriation without compensation.

The National Assembly and national council of provinces have instructed the committee to establish whether a review of Section 25 of the Constitution and other clauses is necessary, to make it possible for the state to expropriate land in the public interest without compensation, and propose the necessary constitutional amendments. This after the National Assembly passed a motion to this effect in February.

So far, delegations of the committee visited the Northern Cape, Limpopo, the Free State, and Mpumalanga. 

On Tuesday, a delegation was in Taung in the North West.

Oral submissions 

According to a statement from Parliament, the delegation listened to several oral submissions from members of the public, including representatives from farmers' associations, civic organisations, political parties, traditional leaders and ordinary citizens. 

The reflection of Tuesday's hearings showed that the majority of the oral submissions made in Taung were in support of the review of the Constitution, while there were some against.

Co-chairperson of the committee Vincent Smith said: "Once again, the committee has underestimated the interest of the people in this matter.

"The committee was expecting about 300 people and there were more than 1 000 people today, which shows that South Africans are very keen to have their voices heard."

The committee applauded the manner in which the people of Taung tolerated each other during the hearings.

There was complete silence when others spoke against the review of the Constitution and there was no need to ask people not to interrupt a speaker, the statement indicated. The committee was also impressed by the fact that the arguments made showed that people applied their minds, the statement read.

"The engagements are robust as expected because this is a sensitive subject but the committee is comfortable with the quality of the arguments that were presented. We hope that it carries on like this going forward," Smith added.

The meeting in Mahikeng is expected to take place at the Mafikeng Civic Centre and the hearing in Vryheid at the Cecil Emmett Hall.

Both hearings are expected to start at 11:00 and are to be concluded by 16:00.

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Read more on:    mahikeng  |  pietermaritzburg  |  land  |  land expropriation  |  land hearings

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