Home News No intimidation at land hearings, warns Parliament

No intimidation at land hearings, warns Parliament

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South Africans could speak in their mother tongues and translation services would be provided.

Picture: Matthews Baloyi

PARLIAMENT has urged the public to exercise freedom of speech when public hearings on land expropriation without compensation begin this week.

“The constitution protects everybody to express his or her views without fear or favour. People should be allowed to express their views even if I don’t like their views,” the co-chairperson of the constitutional review committee, Vincent Smith, said yesterday.

“They can speak their mind and they should not feel intimidated. The constitution affords freedom of speech regardless if I like it or not,” he added.

Two teams of parliamentarians will hold hearings in provinces, starting with the Northern Cape and Limpopo tomorrow and Wednesday respectively.

The hearings are a sequel to the motion adopted earlier this year to look into mechanisms of expropriating land without compensation with a view to review Section 25 of the constitution.

Smith said they would ensure that South Africans could speak in their mother tongues and that translation services would be provided.

Parliament’s spokesperson, Moloto Mothapo, said the national legislature would strive to ensure that as many citizens as possible were provided with an opportunity to raise their views in the interest of participatory democracy.

“The committee reassures the nation that the process will be done in a manner protected both by the laws of our country and the constitution,” Mothapo said.

He said the hearings would be carried on the Parliament TV channel either through delayed or live broadcasts (channel 408 on DSTV).

The committee had received more than 700 000 written submissions as at June 15. Smith said they planned for a minimum of 350 people at the hearings, which are scheduled to start from 11am.