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High-level panel provides public forum for restitution of land

The land — access to it for farming, land and traditional leaders, land for housing, secure tenure on land, restitution for apartheid-era dispossession of land and the slow pace of the land-reform programmes of our democracy. These are issues emerging at our public hearings in different ways in the provinces.

In October at our Free State public hearing in Bloemfontein, a small-scale farmer who had hitchhiked all the way from near the Lesotho border, told us of his troubles trying to make a living from the land. At our KwaZulu-Natal public hearing in Durban, also in October, people raised many issues including brutal treatment at the hands of wetlands park security, land lease terms and relations with the Ingonyama Trust Board.

From a civil society land rights organisation, we heard that a man, now aged 102, has waited 15 years to get his land claim processed. According to the organisation, there are 11,000 outstanding land claims and it would take 50 years to finalise them at the current rate of processing.

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