The land must be returned to its rightful owners — the community — not traditional authorities like chiefs.

This was the general sentiment at the third and final public hearing into land expropriation without compensation in the North West province, which was held at the Rustenburg Civic Centre on Thursday.

The aim of the hearings is for the public to make its input into whether Section 25 of the Constitution — which deals with property rights — should be amended to make it possible for government to expropriate land without compensation.

ANC and Economic Freedom Fighters members were in the parking lot upon arrival, with party regalia for sale on display.

The mood as people queued to enter the venue was sombre, in sharp contrast to the hearing in Mahikeng on Wednesday where people were singing struggle songs and dancing.

The mood in the hall however, was decidedly more exuberant with those attendance shouting “bua, talk!” and chanting amandla whenever they agreed with the position of those making submissions. The hall was packed to the rafters with some attendees having to had stand at the sides and back of the room.

The overwhelming majority of the oral submissions at the hearing were in support of of a constitutional amendment allowing for the expropriation of land without compensation.

One resident — Mojalefa Ramolele — said he supports the motion because he was once a farmer but his farm was taken.

“As I stand here, I no longer have a farm. I was producing on the farm and was successful without the help of the government but I can’t do that anymore.

“When Mandela became president, he said that black people need to create their own jobs so they are not dependent on the government which is why I bought a farm. I am aggrieved. Truly.”

Another person in support of land expropriation without compensation is Ntwagae Molotsane.

During his submission, Molotsane said he supports the motion but doesn’t believe that chiefs should have control of the land because the land belongs to the people.

“Government should take on the responsibility of returning the land to where it belongs.”

Sophie Mokotedi walked up to the microphone to oppose the amendment of Section 25 to much booing and shouts of “ba go rekile, they have bought you!”

Mokotedi added that dikgosi must be removed from the discussion of land because the land belongs to the people and not the chiefs.

The nationwide hearings will continue in Kwazulu-Natal this week then move to Gauteng, the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape over the course of the next two weeks.