Hundreds of land claims bogged down by disputes, failures

More than 400 land claims have yet to be settled as promises to fast track the process were recently announced by Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane. Picture: AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam

More than 400 land claims have yet to be settled as promises to fast track the process were recently announced by Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane. Picture: AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam

Published May 20, 2018

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Cape Town - More than 400 land claims have yet to be settled in the Western Cape as promises to fast track the process were recently announced by Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

The Western Cape Department of Rural Development said that of the 11828 land claims received between 1994 and 1998, 11351 had been resolved.

A spokesperson for the department, Vuyani Nkasayi, said the remaining claims were in various stages of settlement, but challenges had slowed down the resolution of some cases. The delays were due to unavailability of land for redress, failure to trace claimants due to outdated contact information, family disputes and timely provision of documents.

Nkasayi added that in other cases it was not possible to restore the originally dispossessed land and there were family disputes on settlement options and offers. Other hurdles were problems with property valuations and protracted work systems.

Of the claims yet to be resolved, the largest number is in the Cape metropole. Of the 315, 69 are in the Cape Winelands, 39 in Eden, 24 in Overberg, 30 on the West Coast and the rest in the Cape metro.

Delivering her department’s budget vote speech in the National Assembly recently, Nkoana-Mashabane said the department would focus on key legislation, with new bills and policies to speed up land restitution, this financial year.

The target was to settle 1157 claims this financial year and finalise 991 land claims. The department also planned to acquire about 90000 hectares of land for redistribution, which land experts said was too little.

The department has a budget of over R10 billion for this year, with R2.7 billion allocated to land redistribution and R3.4 billion allocated to the redistribution programme. Nkoana-Mashabane added that under-utilised state agricultural land would be brought into full production.

Weekend Argus

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