A heated debate between MPs kicked off the hearings which ultimately led to accusations.
Representatives of the Helen Suzman Foundation made their oral submission, but were dismissed by the EFF.
EFF MP and deputy president Floyd Shivambu said: “You have come here and told us that the economy won’t work, but the majority of blacks are living in poverty. This dying organisation of the apartheid defender Helen. That colonialist promoter who helped apartheid. We will not be listening to three old white men.”
DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach called a point of order and asked for Shivambu to be called to order.
“How can one let this continue? This is simply wrong,” she said.
The foundation’s director, Francis Atonie, first called for a 10-minute break to allow MPs to stop arguing.
“I find it very strange that we have to be responding to this. But nonetheless, the lack of history is a problem that some of these members have,” he said.
The racially-charged dialogue worsened when AfriForum chief executive Ernest Roets took the floor to present his submission.
“The ANC and EFF is drunk on ideologies. There are problems like the Group Areas Act, and that needs to be corrected. But not in this manner.
“Land expropriation is like saying chickens will thrive if KFC grows. They are doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result,” Roets said.
Shivambu told MPs they should not be surprised by Roets’s comments.
“We are going to take the land, and we are prepared to go to war for our land,” he said.
UDM MP Mncedisi Filtane said: “I don’t even think we should continue with these hearings. With people like you, we should just go and take the land. And we will go to war for it.”
All MPs, including those from the ACDP and DA, said they were disturbed by Roets’s comments and rejected them.
The Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference’s Mike Pothier said MPs must question whether amending the Constitution was the only route that could be taken.
“There is so much political rhetoric about this issue. You have people saying we are turning into another Zimbabwe. Then there are those who say this is the magic wand that will fix all our problems. Neither of these are true.
“One thing we should remember is that land cannot be a commodity. We cannot manufacture land. It should be there to serve the needs of everyone,” he said.
Pothier added that the issue should be dealt with calmly. “Will we end up with more problems? I am not saying we will, but we need cool heads on this,” he said.
Nedbank and other financial groups will present submissions today.@JasonFelix