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Land hearings near end of submissions

The Mercury
1 Aug 2018
Kailene Pillay

THE public hearings on land expropriation is at its tail-end of oral submissions, with Parliament’s joint constitutional review committee hosting hearings in the Western Cape today until Saturday.
This is the last leg of their journey to the nine provinces, where the public were called to make oral submissions on whether they supported or were against changing the constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation.
Parliament instructed the committee to determine whether a review of section 25 of the constitution and other clauses were necessary to allow for the state to expropriate land.
The four-day Western Cape hearings will bring to an end two months of hosting public hearings across the country.
Chairperson of the committee Vincent Smith said the last two months in eight provinces had been “grueling” but the committee was “extremely pleased” to see the public out in their numbers.
Smith said the committee underestimated the interest this would garner and expected only around 300 people per hearing.
“We have to apologise because we definitely underestimated the interest in this event. We have seen about 800 to 900 people at every hearing in the different provinces, and that was not what we expected,” Smith said.
He commended those who attended the hearings and submitted their oral representations, saying people were very tolerant of each other.
“People have had a high tolerance of each other’s views, and although each was very set on their views, they allowed the next person to speak. This is with the exception of a few but, overall, the hearings have been going extremely well and we are fully satisfied with it all,” Smith said.
Parliament’s land hearings have continued to draw in thousands of South Africans seeking to have their voices heard on the contentious issue of land reform.
The committee has heard a variety of submissions from farmers, farming associations, emerging black agriculturists, the general public and political parties.