03/06/2008 20:15 - (SA)
Bloemfontein - More than 300 objections to the proposed expropriation bill were handed to the portfolio committee on public works during public hearings in Grasslands on Tuesday .
"These are individual objections I hand over to you by members of the Free State Agriculture," said Dirk van Rensburg, chairman of the farming body's land-reform committee.
On Monday, nearly 900 objections by individuals were handed to the committee during a public hearing in Bethlehem.
According to Free State Agriculture, certain aspects of the bill are unconstitutional.
The Grasslands meeting was attended by farmers, almost half of those attending, and black Bloemspruit residents who claim to be victims of expropriation practices by the Mangaung local municipality.
Free State Democratic Alliance leader Roy Jankielsohn said he was happy to see the number of farmers who attended the meeting and by the input they gave.
However, he was concerned about wrong information contained in advertisements on venues and starting times for the hearings.
A black former plot owner told the committee he and other land owners in the area had "shot themselves in the foot" by electing black officials into power, after describing a "painful" experience of being "ripped off by fellow Africans".
Had lost five farms
A woman, also a former Grasslands plot owner, told the committee that she knew how "the xenophobia people" felt because she was now homeless.
"I have no residential address. People staying where I stayed, they have (a residential address)," she said, adding that she wanted to know how the meeting was going to "reverse it all".
Another woman said she had lost five farms due to the "lack of interest by government officials" and "lack of government action".
Committee chairperson Thandi Tobias urged the former plot owners to discuss their issues with the committee after the hearing.
She said it would be brought to the attention of the proper parliamentary committees.