The Pan African Land Hearings got underway yesterday in Johannesburg, South Africa, with a day of preparations as people from 12 countries gathered to prepare their testimonies of how their communities had been affected by ‘land grabs’.
Their stories detail cases of private sector investment, usually with state sanction, in which community land held under customary tenure has been acquired, often against the will of local people, and without adequate compensation.
The hearings are being co-hosted by Oxfam, ActionAid, the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) and the Future Agricultures Consortium.
The testimonies are to be presented today to a panel of eminent persons, including the Pan African Parliament, at the hearings, held at Constitution Hill, home of South Africa’s Constitutional Court.
"We are here to tell our story of people directly impacted by land grabs", said Lamine Ndiaye of Oxfam GB in Senegal, one of the event's co-organisers.