Parliament is set to decide on a way forward following the abandonment of public hearings on the draft Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill which was published for comment at the end of last year.

Chaos reigned on Sunday when a rowdy group of EFF supporters stormed a public hall scheduled to host a parliamentary public hearing on constitutional changes in Polokwane, Limpopo.

The draft Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill was published for comment at the end of last year with the aim of amending the Constitution to provide that where land and any improvements thereon are expropriated for the purposes of land reform, the amount of compensation payable may be zero.

An EFF supporter blocks the entrance to the Jack Botes Hall during a failed sitting of the ad hoc parliamentary committee. Photo: Lucas Ledwaba

The sitting did not take place as scheduled after a day-long dispute which at times threatened to spill into violence when EFF members tried to force their way into the hall, which ANC members had filled, at the Polokwane municipal offices.

This was deemed to be in contravention of Covid-19 lockdown regulations, and committee chairperson Adv Thomas Bongo ordered all people out of the hall so they could be allowed in based on a list compiled ahead of the hearings.

An EFF member tries to convince his comrades to allow the sitting to go ahead. Photo: Lucas Ledwaba
Stand off between ANC and EFF members during scheduled parliamenatry sitting in Polokwane. Photo: Lucas Ledwaba
EFF MPs try to reach a man wearing an ANC supporter who was seen with a firearm hanging on his waist during a stand off between a stand off with EFF members. Photo: Lucas Ledwaba
The ad hoc parliamentary chair co-chairperson Thomas Bingo said the huge crowds were not compliant with covid-19 regulations. Photo: Lucas Ledwaba
Police had a difficult time managing the sotuation as EFF embers wanted to force their way into parlimentry sitting. Photo: Lucas Ledwaba

Bongo said a decision on whether to reschedule the Polokwane hearings will have to be taken by the full committee after receiving a comprehensive report from support structures. 

EFF leader Julius Malema on Monday criticised his party member’s behaviour.

““The EFF should have allowed itself to sit outside because it acted irresponsibly and came late. That type of behaviour must never be promoted. We condemn it. It is irresponsible,” Malema said.

The EFF scored a political victory in parliament in two years ago after forcing the ANC, its bitter rival, to vote with it to support a motion calling for the amendment of the constitution to allow for expropriation of land without compensation.

The matter was hotly contested in Parliament after the EFF earlier brought the motion but the ANC initially refused to support it.

The committee has held public hearings across the country. -Mukurukuru Media

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