Decision made to target rural populations over urban dwellers during the upcoming public participation process in respect of the Upgrading of Land Tenure Rights Amendment (Ultra) Bill. Photographer: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)
Decision made to target rural populations over urban dwellers during the upcoming public participation process in respect of the Upgrading of Land Tenure Rights Amendment (Ultra) Bill. Photographer: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape legislature committee to consult rural people about land tenure rights

By Mwangi Githahu Time of article published Feb 23, 2021

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Cape Town - The provincial legislature’s standing committee on agriculture will make a point of consulting with academics and targeting rural populations over urban dwellers during the upcoming public participation process in respect of the Upgrading of Land Tenure Rights Amendment (Ultra) Bill.

This was decided during a committee meeting at which the committee was informed it had a tight three-week schedule to deliver comments to the National Council of Provinces in terms of the bill.

The amendment bill was necessitated by two orders of the Constitutional Court which found that the act, which dates back to 1991, was unconstitutional because it discriminated against the rights of women to own property independently.

Also section 3 of the act was inapplicable in the former apartheid homelands of Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei, formerly known as the TBVC states.

During a brief debate on what the advert alerting the public to the process should look like, committee chairperson Andricus van der Westhuizen (DA) said: “There’s a proposal to take out adverts in the print media, but as I am aware this is an expensive option, I suggest we concentrate on two or three of the biggest newspapers with a provincial footprint as early as possible.”

Van der Westhuizen said: “I would suggest we send invites to academic institutions in the province because I do know, for example, that UCT has a desk that specialises in land rights and land tenure issues.”

Committee member Peter Marais (FF Plus) said: “The bill refers to communal land which is to be found mostly in rural areas and not in cities. What do people in cities have to contribute about what should happen with communal land in the TBVC states?”

Marais added: “We should consult with the people mostly affected by this legislation first as they deserve to have the ramifications of the legislation explained to them before anyone else.

“Meanwhile we shouldn’t bother advertising in the mainstream papers, but in this case we should target the free community newspapers as those are the ones most likely to be read by the poor people we are wanting to talk to,” he said.

Committee members Pat Marran (ANC) and Deidré Baartman (DA) supported the proposals and the measure was passed.

Cape Argus

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