Congress of the People (Cope) leader Mosioua Lekota should be worried about his party’s chances in the 2019 general elections if sentiments expressed by participants in the public hearings into proposed amendments to the Constitution are anything to go by.
Members of the public continued to attack Lekota during public hearings by Parliament’s joint constitutional review committee.
Many questioned Lekota’s opposition to proposed changes to Section 25 of the Constitution to allow for expropriation of land without compensation.
Some pleaded with Lekota to change his views with, one person even going as far as to plead with Lekota to ‘come back home’. Another member of the public accused him of being a sellout.
So far the hearings have exposed a deep racial divide between black people, who are overwhelmingly in support of the motion and white people who are against it.
It has also brought to the fore strong divisions between Cope and the Democratic Alliance (DA) who are against the mooted amendments, and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the ANC who firmly support changes.
Patrick Shiba was among many who questioned Lekota’s allegiances, asking what he had struggled and spent time on Robben Island for if he is now against a motion, which seemingly favours black people.
The committee heard a variety of submissions including unresolved land claims, the high cost of municipal land and government’s failure to implement existing constitutional provisions to address the issue of land reform and restitution.
At least 2 000 people attended the hearings in Mbombela on Monday.
Committee chairperson Vincent Smith said the hearings have so far produced a strong quality of arguments both for and against mooted amendments.
He said so far the hearings have been ‘rough’ in terms of the tension between people who hold opposing views.
Asked whether it was fair to allow political parties to influence the views of the participants, Smith said there was nothing wrong as political parties were also a part of society.
He said the committee has received close to a million written submissions with, Afrikaner interest group AfriForum submitting 51 000 signatures.
AfriForum has raised concerns that holding the hearings during working hours deprives those at work the opportunity to make their submissions.
But Smith argued that if the hearings were held after working hours it would deprive those who were bussed in from far flung areas — including farm dwellers — an opportunity to attend.
— Mukurukuru Media