The people of Tshwane attending this weekend’s land debates “overwhelmingly” supported the principle of expropriation of land without compensation, with many seeking to dispel the idea they won’t be able to use it.
Over 2 000 people came to share their views when parliament’s constitutional review committee held the last leg of Gauteng’s land hearings at Heartfelt Arena in Pretoria on Saturday. Despite a last-minute venue change, many came to voice their views on the proposed amendment of section 25 of the constitution.
“The people of Tshwane overwhelmingly agree there should be land expropriation as a principle. Many spoke of the need to have land for burial purposes while the young people wanted to work the land and open factories,” committee chairperson Vincent Smith said yesterday.
“There was another view that they are willing to work with emerging farmers, but are not getting the necessary support from government. We will consider all of them equally and take it from there when making final decisions.”
Olievenhoutbosch residents came in their numbers to state that there was plenty of vacant land in the area, but they live in shacks and fight for RDP houses. The area has seen numerous land invasions and illegal occupations of vacant RDP houses.
“We have to pay rent, but there is vacant land. We don’t want RDP houses, we want land so we can build for ourselves. Whites killed our grandparents back then. We will make sure the land goes back to its rightful owners,” said Olievenhoutbosch resident, Christina Raselabe.
Some, however, believe government can’t make any decisions about the land without consulting the aboriginal Khoi and San communities. Paramount chief Larry Varrie of the Greater Aboriginal Committee Council of South Africa said the Khoisan demanded the same honour and privilege that President Cyril Ramaphosa had given to Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini.
“We are the owners of the land since the start. We want government to approach us because aboriginal law is valid. Therefore, government has no right to touch any land or say anything about it without consulting us.”
However, he agreed section 25 should be amended as it only benefited the “offspring of the colonisers” and “the constitution cannot entrench colonial beneficiation.”