Land: The people speak – Return land to the chiefs, review committee told in Jozini

2018-07-19 16:34

Return the land to the chiefs – this has been the call of several speakers at the Joint Constitutional Review Committee's hearing on amending section 25 of the Constitution in Jozini, KwaZulu-Natal, on Thursday. 

"Who are the rightful owners of the land?" asked Albert Nxumalo. "The state should expropriate the land and give it to amakhosi (chiefs)."

"The land belongs to amakhosi and their subjects," he added.

This was a view shared by several speakers. There were, however, loud cheers when a man said land should not be given to the chiefs as they sold the land to white people and their subjects were suffering under them. 

"Land should be taken from whites, not amakhosi (chiefs)," a man said to loud cheers from the audience in the packed Makhonyeni Hall.

Florence Nkosini said she was a headman (induna) in the area.

"The land should be brought back to us," she said. "Van Riebeeck tried to oppress us forever."

She said her family was evicted from their ancestral land.

LAND OVERVIEW: Section 25, to amend or not - the people continue to speak

She was not the only speaker who brought up forced evictions.

Musa Shabangu said his family was forcibly removed and "very much abused". Their 90 cattle and 40 goats were confiscated.

"That is all I can say. I feel like crying today," he said.

While the majority of speakers support an amendment of the Constitution to allow expropriation of land without compensation, there was some opposition, including from all the white speakers who took part in the hearing.

Gené Taljaard said she opposes an amendment because the government failed to deliver on its land reform mandate.

She said expropriation has always been an option for government. "If government never deemed it necessary to expropriate, why now? Because it failed," she said.

"We're still going to take our land," a man at the back of the hall interjected. 

Kobus Theron said he supports land reform, but not amending the Constitution.

"I do admit the injustices of the past, of the apartheid era, and before that," he said.

He said Parliament failed in implementing land reform and the only reasonable course of action would be to hold a referendum.

The committee's delegation in KwaZulu-Natal will head to Pietermaritzburg on Friday, before its last hearing in the province in Kokstad on Saturday.  

Read more on:    land expropriation  |  land

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