'Expropriation' call for land and all minerals
Mthatha City Hall spilled over with people who had travelled from far and wide to be there
Land expropriation should not only consider farmland but all SA land and water and its minerals, according to a call made in a heated hearing held by the first Constitutional Review Committee in the province yesterday.
Speaker after speaker in a packed Mthatha City Hall stood up and put forward a position, all to be added to the 600 000 already received. Some want land given to traditional leaders, others to the state. Some supported appropriation without compensation, others not.
Hundreds spilled outside the hall. People had travelled from Alfred Nzo, Butterworth, Centane, Mbizana, Mount Fletcher and Tsomo. The Mthatha hearing was the 22nd and there are now nine more to go. The committee moves to Komani tomorrow and the Orient Theatre in East London on Thursday.
Most of the arguments yesterday came from political representatives of Azapo, the DA, PAC, ANC, EFF, Azapo African Change Academy, but also from Contralesa and agricultural organisations.
There was significant support for land to be given to traditional leaders. Some said section 25 of the constitution provided adequate legal ground to expropriate without compensation and there was no need to amend the constitution.
Committee chairman Lewis Nzimande said it was hard to define a single or mainstream opinion, and all views had been aired without any intimidation from any quarter.
He said many argued expropriation should be executed on the basis that land remains productive to ensure food security and a healthy economy, while others want more than agricultural land. They want the entire surface of South Africa, the minerals below that surface and those in the ocean.Of the political parties, only the DA did not support expropriation without compensation or a constitutional amendment.
African Change Academy president Wandile Tsipa said: “The ANC just lacks political will to enforce the constitution. Also, we want land restored to communities and administered by Communal Property Associations, and not to be entrusted to traditional leaders.”
Nzimande said the one voice missing from the Mthatha session was that of farmworkers, but this was to be expected as this area was significantly not a farming area. “But going forward we anticipate more views of farmworkers in the Eastern Cape, who will tell of many issues related to land tenure and restitution. The wide range of issues gives the committee a base from which to engage going forward,” said Nzimande.
Contralesa provincial secretary Nkosi Mkhanyiseli Dudumayo – who called for expropriation without compensation and for land to be restored to the community – complained about the way the hearing was organised.
“We cannot expect all people from the OR Tambo and Alfred Nzo to come and meet in this hall. Parliament should have brought the hearing closer to people in rural places,” said Dudumayo.
Nzimande said the committee had invited Contralesa, AfriForum and AgriSA. “We still hope that when we go back to Cape Town we will find their submissions. What we are holding is just public hearings, not a referendum.”
The public hearings will end in the first week of August.
“We will go through the written submissions, and after that there will be a national public hearing based on the written submissions. Then we will produce a working document which will then become a report. When it is adopted on September 28 it will be presented to parliament. The mandate we have is to speed up the process.”
Nzimande said any amendment to section 25 would need a draft bill with another series of public hearings...