Land hearings a mockery of the will of the people in Limpopo – Jacques Smalle

DA PL says large number of members of public were denied opportunity to express their position

Land hearings a mockery of the will of the people in Limpopo

28 June 2018

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Limpopo will write to the Chair of the Constitutional Review Committee, Vincent Smith, to express our concerns on the chaotic and deliberate exclusion of some members of the public from participating in public hearings on the amendment of Section 25 of the constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation.

Due to poor planning and a failure to anticipate the large number of people who showed up for the hearings in Marble Hall, a large number of members of the public were denied the opportunity to express their position.

Of major concern was that people who were sitting outside in the overflow were mostly ignored and were never heard.

The Chairperson himself, Mr Vincent Smith, made matters worse by giving Mr Julius Malema from the EFF a platform to address members of the public directly while denying committee members from other political parties the same opportunity.

The event was so poorly organized to such an extent that the few marshals that were present struggled to control the crowd that was pushing and shoving to enter into the venue. Disabled people were the most affected as they failed completely to gain access into the venue.

Despite promises from the Chair that the hearings will be held until later in the evening to accord all participants an opportunity to speak, this did not happen.

Yesterday’s proceedings left a distinct impression that there was a general bias towards particular viewpoints and a deliberate exclusion of other members of the public.

In today's public hearing in Mokopane no provision was made for an overflow crowd outside and this resulted in people sitting under trees or leaving the venue. This is not conducive for a fair consultative process.

We hope the two remaining public hearings left in Lenyenye and Thohoyandou will be better managed and more inclusive in how the public consultation is carried out.

The DA remains adamant that the only way to address land reform and inequality is through safeguarding property rights, expediting land reform and giving people ownership and title deeds to their land and houses

Issued by Jacques SmalleDA Provincial Leader, 28 June 2018