De Aar Residents: ‘Our parents have died waiting for land’
Residents of De Aar, in their call for the speedy implementation of amendments, have told the delegation of the Ad Hoc Committee to initiate and introduce Legislation Amending Section 25 of the Constitution, that their parents have died waiting for land.
Several residents spoke about the loss of land during the era of apartheid and the continuous struggles faced by many residents in De Aar, who are unable to build their own homes due to the lack of land available to them. Mrs Meisie Bosman told the delegation that “the land must be given freely because our forefathers had land taken from them. They even left without their stock and nothing came of it”.
A large number of residents pleaded with the delegation, stating that there are many capable black farmers whose livestock is roaming the streets. “Our farmers cannot be ‘emerging’ farmers forever, we need to address this by giving these farmers the land,” said Mr Mzwandile.
Contrary to the support for the proposed amendments, a number of commercial farmers told the delegation that zero compensation will not achieve the transformation agenda as intended. The delegation was told that it is not necessarily agricultural land that people need, but all property that has value.
Mr Nicol Jansen said: “We have a once-off chance to do it right, South Africa has limited resources and a growing population. There is no room for failure in terms of land reform and developing a new generation of farmers. How can we expect these new black farmers to make a success and create wealth if the land has no value?”
While agreeing that black farmers need to be given an opportunity and access to commercial farming, Mr Stefan van der Merwe told the delegation that the transformation agenda will not be achieved by expropriating land without compensation. According to Mr Van der Merwe, alternative avenues for transformation and mutual growth need to be considered.
The Leader of the delegation, Dr Mathole Motshekga, highlighted the importance of the public hearings for the people of South Africa. He specifically spoke to the unfortunate situation currently happening in Senekal, Free State, as an example of the importance of achieving unity and social cohesion in the country.
“All of us, irrespective of race or creed, are people, and we have equal rights. What we are doing today is neither a black problem nor a white problem, but a South African one which needs urgent solutions by all of us,” he said.
Although residents had to wait for their turn to enter the hall, as per the National State of Disaster regulations related to hall capacity, they did so with diligence and respect. “You have shown us that the people of De Aar are self-respecting people,” said Dr Motshekga as he expressed his appreciation to the residents for their indulgence, their patience and participation in this crucial process. He further assured them that all submissions will be considered.
Source: Government of South Africa