SOUTH Africa’s white farmers are fearing the worst over the government announced plans to take their land away from them without compensation.

Locals in the town of Swellendam have voiced their worries to South African Parliament’s Joint Constitutional Review Committee, who held hearings across several parts of the country to hear farmers’ concerns.

On Friday, a delegate from the African National Congress, South Africa’s ruling party, told locals at the Swellendam hearing: “My white brothers and sisters, don’t worry.”

The African National Congress supporter dismissed claims that members of the ANC would “chase white people into the sea”, stating that “this did not happen”.

Instead, he claimed that “white people” grew richer under an ANC-led government than the previous apartheid regime.

The delegate also said that a weak currency would in fact strengthen farmers’ exports, and that President Cyril Ramaphosa was a great leader.

He added: “We won’t take your homes. What I want is to farm next to you.”

The African National Congress came into power after the 1994 election, becoming the first party to rule South Africa since the end of the country’s apartheid system.

Apartheid was a system of institutionalised racial segregation, established in South Africa after the National Party gained power in 1948.

In 1994, Nelson Mendala was released from prison and sworn into presidency, as the country transformed from a system of apartheid to one of majority rule under the ANC.

In February, South Africa’s parliament passed a motion to review Section 25 of the country’s constitution, which will only allow land expropriation with compensation.

Section 25 states that property must be expropriated only for “a public purpose or in the public interest” and “subject to compensation”.

But the new amendment will now remove the “subject to compensation” rule, sparking fury amongst land owners as their land can now be taken away from them without any reimbursement.

Swellendam mayor, John Matthysen expressed his support for the amendment of Section 25 of the Constitution, saying that he “fully, fully, absolutely fully” wanted the change.

He said: “Why are some people painting this issue as scary? Why are some people afraid of losing the land?

“Why are they painting a picture that they will lose everything? This will never be the case.”

Adding there were farmers who owned five farms within the area, he said: “And they don’t want to lose one! That is ridiculous!”

south africa land expropriation anc

Farmers across South Africa aired their concerns to Parliament delegates at public hearings (Image: GETTY)

The motion was brought forward by Julius Malema, leader of South Africa’s far-left party, the Economic Freedom Fighters.

Opening his debate to Parliament, Mr Malema said: “The time for reconciliation is over. Now is the time for justice.”

However, he said that the government did not want to take revenge on white people, but restore black people’s dignity which he said was deeply rooted in the land.

Rural Affairs and Land Reform Deputy Minister Mcebisi Skwatsha said: “You should not make the mistake that we want to oppress whites.

south africa land expropriation anc

Ministers announced plans to amend Section 25 of the constitution,, sparking national fury (Image: GETTY)

“We want to redress an historic injustice. We want to take everybody along in achieving an equitable society.”

A traditional leader who also spoke at the hearing, said: “The farmers must understand: We’re not here to harm you. We’re not here to fight, but give us land.”

The meeting is South African Parliament’s Joint Constitutional Review Committee second last public hearing before the government is set to amend Section 25 of the Constitution.

The committee’s final meeting will take place on Saturday at the Friend of God Church in Goodwood, Cape Town.

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