The hearing took place at a packed Heartfelt Arena, Thaba Tshwane, on Saturday.
In no time, the panel found itself having to call the audience to order when black participants opposed to land expropriation without compensation were called traitors.
Some white people said they were not farmers, but business people and landowners, and voiced their views based on research about the economy and possible consequences.
Paramount Chief Larry Varrie of the Greater Aboriginal Committee Council of SA said Khoisan people were the first occupants of the land and deserved a visit from President Cyril Ramaphosa, as he did with Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini.
“The 1913 limitation on land ownership should be completely removed as it upholds and justifies the crimes, atrocities and mass murders against our people," he said. “We are the owners of the land. The government has no right to touch any land without consulting us.”
Letta Chabangu was booed for advising the panel to tell Parliament not to amend the constitution. She said Section 25 already allowed for land to be taken and redistributed, but the government failed because officials were lazy to do their jobs.
“I have my grandfather’s title deed from 78 years ago. We were told to claim back our land when I was 36. Today I am 60, but nothing was done by officials,” she said.
Settlers took the land and now the government wanted to do the same and benefit a few people with connections, Chabangu said.
Mamelodi Extension 11 DA chairperson Andrew Raboroko said he wanted the government to expropriate land and be the sole custodian to distribute it equally.
Peter Rantsi told the panel that Parliament must expropriate land.
Black South Africans, he said, were not consulted when their land was taken, but now they were prepared to take it back.
Willem Pistorius said the constitutional amendment was not necessary. History showed South Africans were capable of talking to each other to find peace, like they did with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, he said. “We as farmers recognise what happened in the past. We know that for us as white farmers, land is a commodity while many of our black colleagues see land as a way of living.”
Tshwane EFF chairperson MoAfrika Mabogwana said: “White people killed black people and committed black genocide. That is why we are saying the land has been stolen.
“Section 25 must be scrapped and replaced with land expropriation without compensation for equal redistribution.”
Expropriation of land without compensation would also liberate white women who did not own significant land, he said.
In her submission, Adele du Toit said she opposed land expropriation without compensation because unemployment was already high and thousands of jobs would be lost in the agricultural sector. More than 90% of farms already expropriated by the State failed, she said.
“Approximately 3.3million youths were not in employment, education or training in the first quarter of this year. This implied close to one in three between 15 and 24 are disengaged from the labour market.”
She said agriculture hired these “unskilled and untrained” youths, but if land expropriation continued, unemployment would only increase.