Land: The people speak - Hearings enter final stretch in the Western Cape
Parliament's Joint Constitutional Review Committee is entering the final stretch of its countrywide land hearings when it holds its first hearing in the Western Cape on Wednesday.
A delegation of the committee will have its hearing at Oudtshoorn's Thusong Centre at 11:00. From there, it is expected to move to Beaufort West on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the other delegation of the committee is to have a hearing in Citrusdal on Thursday, followed by one in Swellendam on Friday.
On Saturday, the full committee will have a hearing in Cape Town. Initially, this hearing was planned to be in Parliament's Old Assembly Chamber, but it was moved to the Friends of God Church in Goodwood to accommodate more members of the public who want to share their views.
Thus far, the committee criss-crossed through each of the other provinces, starting in the Northern Cape at the end of June. This after it was instructed by the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces to ascertain whether a review of Section 25 of the Constitution and other clauses was necessary to make it possible for the state to expropriate land in the public interest without compensation, and to propose the necessary constitutional amendments where necessary.
The majority of speakers at the hearings were in favour of an amendment, with the general argument based on the assertion that indigenous people were dispossessed of their land without compensation, impoverishing the people and destroying their culture and pride. Expropriation without compensation is viewed as a remedy to this.
The general argument against amending the Constitution was that it would create economic chaos and threaten food security. It has also been suggested that it is not necessary to amend the Constitution to implement effective land reform.
"We continue to stress that the committee's main consideration will be the quality of argument placed before it and [it] will use the wisdom given to us through written and oral submissions to come to a decision," said committee co-chairperson Vincent Smith in a statement.