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Land claims law to be opposed

Author: Linda Ensor

THE Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Act, which was rushed through Parliament just ahead of last year’s general election and has been championed by President Jacob Zuma, will be challenged in the Constitutional Court.

Grassroots organisations say the basis of the challenge is inadequate public consultation, or alternatively, that the section dealing with the priority resolution of existing claims is too vague.

Mr Zuma has urged traditional leaders to lodge claims after the act reopened the land restitution process, allowing new claims to be lodged until end-June 2019.

This poses the risk that the finalisation of claims lodged prior to the first deadline in December 1998 will be delayed or face competition from new claims.

There is also the danger that there will not be enough money to settle all old and new claims. By August 2013 58,990 claims had been finalised and about 20,592 mostly rural claims had been settled but not finalised. The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform estimates that 397,000 new claims will be lodged in the reopened process, which could cost between R130bn and R179bn to finalise.

 

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