Heated debate at Free State land expropriation hearings

The hearings in the Free State have been well attended with the Ferdie Meyer Hall in Welkom filled to capacity.

Members of Parliament’s constitutional review committee pictured during a land debate in Welkom on 3 July 2018. Picture:  Kgomotso Modise/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Parliament’s constitutional review committee says Free State residents have given substantive views on issues of land reform and expropriation without compensation.

Delegates from the committee were in Welkom in the Free State on Tuesday for oral submissions.

They will now move to Phuthaditjhaba, as part of their roadshow on whether Section 25 of the Constitution, that deals with land expropriation, should be amended.

The hearings in the Free State have been well attended with the Ferdie Meyer Hall in Welkom filled to capacity.

Robust conversation and heated debate were the order of the day, with emotions flaring at times.

One woman expressed her concern: “If you’re a white person and you have to live with 13 people in a two-bedroom shack in the cold, as a woman to go outside to go to the bathroom or fetch water is not fair.”

Chairperson of the review committee Luis Nzimande says they are satisfied with the quality of debate in the hearings.

“There is an understanding with regards to what we request from them as members of the public to do.”

However, he says keeping the crowd orderly during submissions has been a challenge.

TRANSLATORS

Parliament’s constitutional review committee says it will be prioritising finding the right translators as oral submissions on the land debate continue in the Free State and Mpumalanga on Wednesday morning.

Tempers flared in Welkom on Tuesday when those attending realised that there was no Afrikaans translator.

Nzimande says providing translation services for all 11 official languages has proven difficult.

“With the first person for Afrikaans... the person was delayed, so we have Sesotho, English and Setswana. The plan was that we will have three interpreters who will cater for the majority language spoken in the province.”

WATCH: Analysts, politicians and lobbyists discuss South Africa's land question.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)