26 May 2018


THE OFFICIAL BOKONE BOPHIRIMA GOVERNMENT NEWSPAPER

Activists call for precise dates, accessible venues and transport for land public hearings

by: Nelson Mandela Foundation   date: 26 April 2018

On the 18th of April, activists based in urban and rural areas,
members of civil society organizations, community-
based organizations, lawyers, and academics gathered at the Nelson Mandela
Foundation to discuss issues for the
forthcoming constitutional review process. Some of the issues discussed were
the consultative public meetings, the
written submissions as well as the grievous
concerns over the hastily organized hearings located at great distances from
affected regions. It appears that the public
participation which is expected from
communities appears merely as a political tick box and a formality, as opposed
to an opportunity for government to get
meaningful input from communities.
Civil society organizations envision a public consultation process which provides
an opportunity for ordinary citizens
to make their voices heard on the issue
of land. We urge citizens living in both rural and urban areas to come forward and
offer their assessment of whether or not
the mandates of section 25 of the constitution
are being realized by our government.
This includes, but is not limited to, the provisions for expropriation and compensation.
The following are the demands of the
organizations which were present at the
workshop held on the 18 of April at the
Nelson Mandela Foundation:
• We call on the Constitutional Review
Committee to hear citizens’ views on all sub-sections of the Property
Clause, and to assess whether or not
the constitution needs to be amended in light of progress towards ensuring
equitable access to land for all South
Africans (subsection 25.5), land tenure security (25.6) and restitution of
land (25.7). In other words, the focus
should be on all the provisions of Section
25, not simply those on expropriation
and compensation
• The proposed dates and venues
need to be made public so as to allow
communities and organizations
the opportunity to adequately prepare
for the hearings. More specifically, the
upcoming public hearings dates and
venues should be issued a month before
they will be held
• Venues should also be easily accessible
to vulnerable communities
• When the venues are decided on, it
needs to be accessible for both rura

and urban people and an adequate
number of districts need to be selected
so as to allow for people to participate
• The issue of transport has not been
communicated to those who reside
outside cities and towns hosting the
hearings. If people are not able to be
transported to the hearings, this will inhibit
their participation in the process
and will prevent poor South Africans
from participating in the process
Considering the issues mentioned
above and a precedent set under the
same parliament of hosting inadequate
public consultation processes - which
lends itself to litigation and other contestations
– we want to ensure that the
process is adequate and is not subject to
delays that hinder the realization of land
for the landless.