Local and international singer Miriam Makeba gave voice to it in her 1960s song Mabayeke: Give us our land. It is a cry that has not yet grown quiet, 23 years into democracy. It is reverberating through the provincial public hearings being held by the high-level panel on assessment of key legislation and acceleration of fundamental change. At the seven provincial public hearings held so far, people have come — sometimes hitchhiking great distances — to tell the panel of their problems with access to land for farming, land for housing, secure tenure on the land they occupy, access to mineral rights and beneficiation of minerals, restitution for apartheid-era land dispossession and the slow pace of land reform programmes. It is not surprising that land features so prominently. After all, the apartheid government forcibly removed about 3.5-million people in the years up to the 1960s. The panel’s seven provincial public hearings held so far have been in diverse venues — church property ...

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