Scuffles breakout during land without expropriation debate

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PRETORIA – A land debate which was attended by representative from different political parties and academics was on Monday, marred by hackling and scuffles from audience members whenever a speaker said something they disagreed with.

The land expropriation without compensation debate was held at UNISA on Monday.

Anyone who was not aligned to the ideologies of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) was heckled during their address.

Congress of the People leader Mosiuoa Lekota was called a sell out throughout his address.

“It’s easy to call us cowards, it’s easy to accuse us of selling out when you don’t know how we got here,” said Lekota before leaving the stage.

African National Congress (ANC) national executive committee member and former ANC Youth League deputy president Ronald Lamola was heckled and stopped from speaking within five minutes on the podium.

After Lamola left the stage, ANC members broke out in a song in protest which brought the seminar into a halt. A  scuffle then broke out between ANC and EFF members in the audience.

The first session was chaotic and ended abruptly without going through the question and answers.

Andile Mngxitama, the leader of Black First Land (BLF) who has also been vocal about land expropriation without compensation, managed to deliver his speech without interruption.

“When the whites took the Land during the apartheid regime, they took it under no form of law… It is ought to be that we as black Africans unite and stand firmly and take what belongs to us.”

Mngxitama said parliament must be challenged to change the constitution before the next elections.

“If you don’t do that we must declare you sell outs. We must all go to the roadshows of Parliament and tell them this.”

Themba Godi‚ chairperson of Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa)‚ said expropriation without compensation cannot take place with the sitting government as they even struggle to distribute RDP houses 24 years into democracy.

“The Constitution says you must first compensate through agreement, if not, it must be expropriated through the courts. We don’t have the money for that,” he said.

Former EFF member of parliament Khanyisile Litchfield-Tshabalala, was one of the few speakers who wasn’t heckled.

Litchfield-Tshabalala said Section 25 must be scrapped and those who took the land needed to pay reparations.

“Whites are the most spoilt people… Why should we even compensate colonisers..Why do we tiptoe around whites… White South Africans have a home in Europe, why don’t they use it,” she said.

ANA