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Land claims could blow up in Zuma’s face

Author: Aninka Claassens

Several traditional leaders recently announced their intention to lodge restitution claims to vast and overlapping swaths of land. They include the Zulu king, leaders of the Hlubi, Rharhabe and Thembu, and President Jacob Zuma’s nephew Simphiwe Zuma, on behalf of the KwaNxamalala clan.

King Goodwill Zwelithini has announced that his claim goes back to 1838 and covers all the land owned by the “Zulu kingdom” before the wars of conquest. Major cities and towns are included within these “tribal claims”.

Jacob Zuma, in his speech opening the National House of Traditional Leaders, encouraged traditional leaders to take advantage of the newly amended Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Act and put in claims. The amendment reopens the window for lodging restitution claims, but retains the restriction that dispossession must have taken place after 1913.

Yet hints by Zuma that this date is negotiable have led to an avalanche of claims by traditional leaders going back into the mists of time.

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