Land: The people speak - Hearings called a 'farce' after Ramaphosa's expropriation announcement

Some speakers at the Constitutional Review Committee's Beaufort West land hearing described the process as a farce on Thursday.

However, most supported an amendment to the Constitution's property clause - Section 25 - to allow expropriation of land without compensation.

A representative of the conservative lobby group AfriForum said the process was a "ruse and a farce" after President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement on Tuesday that the ANC would push an amendment through Parliament.

READ: ANC will support constitutional amendment to expropriate land without compensation

He said expropriation without compensation was based on a distortion of history and it was being considered due to the current government's failings.

"I call it thievery," he said.

He added that AfriForum supported land restitution, but not land redistribution because it was "racist".

A man who introduced himself as a former gangster who became a pastor and an ANC leader in Beaufort West, described AfriForum as an "apartheid bias organisation". 

"It is high treason to go to other countries and badmouth us and our government," he said.

A coloured man said the proposed amendment seemed like the ANC's bluffing tactics because land claims have still not been resolved.

"Maybe it's their last attempt at survival before 2019," he said. 

David Willemse also described the amendment of Section 25 as a "farce". 

"The governing party has very good policies, but it is very bad with implementation," he said.

"The ANC government's recipe is to play off people against each other and this they are doing very well at the moment."

As has become customary at the hearings, white speakers all opposed the amendment.

A white man who introduced himself as a "child of the Karoo" said he was the son of a man who has worked his whole life in the Karoo for every cent that he owned.

"I did not steal a hectare of land from anybody," he said. "That which I own today, I and my forebears earned in a bitter manner."

"We won't walk away without a fight."

Another white man said Afrikaners have a shared history with South Africa's other tribes.

"You can't turn back the clock."

He said "immoral" laws such as the 1913 Natives Land Act had been passed in the past.

"In 1994, we agreed to put it right."

ALSO READ: ANC still mum on how it will expropriate land without compensation

However, he feels expropriation without compensation is the wrong way to do it.

"It will be just as immoral as the previous laws," he said.

Several speakers took issue with the white farmer who said he would not leave his land without a fight.

A man who identified himself as an ANC leader said the issue mustn't be politicised. 

"There's a white guy that said they will defend their land. You can defend your land, we will take it back," he said.

"If you don't come to the party, then it will be like Zimbabwe."

Some speakers also said it seemed white people were opposed to coloured and black people's development. 

Several speakers also took issue with some white farmers who owned many farms. 

The meeting, in the Beaufort West Recreational Hall, finished at 14:40, much earlier than most of the committee's hearings across the country, which often proceeded past the cut-off time of 16:00 to allow people to have their say.

On Friday, a delegation of the committee is expected to be in Swellendam and on Saturday the whole committee is headed for Goodwood in Cape Town's northern suburbs.