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Keeping “complaints” out: The Limpopo Legislature hearing on the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill

Author: Boitumelo Matlala and Ramatsimele Francina Motjoadi

The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) should prioritise old claims over new claims in the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill, currently awaiting the President’s signature.

In an analysis on the Custom Contested website, Ramatsimele Francina Motjoadi, a representative of the Tladi-ya-Kgahlane and Seloane Land Claim Committee, and Boitumelo Matlala, of the Centre for Law and Society at UCT, add that this view is consistent with the submissions made in the National Assembly hearings on the same Bill in November 2013 and January 2014. ‘Reports of this first round of hearings show that while people welcomed the spirit behind the main amendment – reopening the lodgement process – they also opposed it given the current backlog of claims.’ The writers add that during the hearings by the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on the Bill, representatives of the Tladi-ya-Kgahlane and Seloane Land Claim Committee were promised that their outstanding claims would be attended to soon. ‘They were told that the commission would respond to claimants in writing. A couple of months later – despite successive telephonic conversations with various officials and written submissions – there has been no written feedback and resolution. Instead, the casual response given telephonically to representatives from Tladi-ya-Kgahlane was that there is no allocation for their claim in the restitution budget for the 2014/2015 financial year.’ Motjoadi and Matlala add: ‘The dangers of reopening the restitution process are immediate for people living in rural areas, in particular those with outstanding claims. The delays in restoring land (that will be exacerbated by the reopening) continue to have adverse implications for citizens in rural areas and their security of tenure. Despite countless demands by community members that the Bill obligates the state to prioritise existing claims, the current version awaiting the President’s signature simply leaves this to the discretion of the Land Claims Commission in section 6(2)(d) of the Bill.’

Follow the link below to read the full analysis:

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