Cops step in to stop DA, EFF members in land hearing brawl
Police had to intervene to save a young Democratic Alliance (DA) supporter from being attacked by a group of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) supporters at the conclusion of public hearings on proposed amendments to the Constitution.
The incident happened on Saturday — the final day of the Limpopo leg of nationwide hearings by the parliamentary portfolio committee on rural development and land reform at the Thulamela Multipurpose complex in Thohoyandou.
The parliamentary committee on held public hearings in four Limpopo to get submissions on proposed amendments to Section 25 of the Constitution to allow the state to expropriate land without compensation.
The DA member — dressed in a blue party t-shirt — drew the ire of EFF supporters when he submitted that he was opposed to amendments to Section 25 of the Constitution.
He was heckled and booed by the EFF supporters clad in the party’s red t-shirts. This led to a halt in proceedings as security personnel scrambled to keep DA and EFF supporters from physically attacking each other.
EFF MP Godrich Gardee stood from his chair on the podium to remonstrate another DA supporter who had allegedly insulted EFF members.
Order was restored after EFF leader Julius Malema and committee chairperson Vincent Smith appealed for calm.
However when proceedings were completed at around 4pm a group of youths pounced on the DA supporter outside the venue, threatening to beat him up.
A heated standoff ensued between the EFF and DA supporters but police officers intervened to separate the two sides.
Tempers have been on the boil since the hearings started in Marble Hall on Wednesday, with those opposed to the proposed constitutional changes being heckled and booed.
Smith said the sittings have been a success, adding that they had expected at least 350 people to show at each of the four sittings but had instead received crowds of about 800.
He said the small size of some of the halls posed challenges.
Smith said committee has so far received over 800 000 written submissions nationally.
Some of the participants at the hearings had expressed concern about the small number of white citizens participating in the hearings.
Smith said this wasn’t a worry because the committee wanted to reach people who have no access to resources or are unable to submit written submissions. He said the committee is happy with the quality of the oral submissions made during the hearings.
The committee moves to Mpumalanga next week to conduct three hearings in the province. — Mukurukuru Media