Public Works Minister De Lille wants land reform to be quickened

Public Works Minister Patricia de Lille. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency.

Public Works Minister Patricia de Lille. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency.

Published Nov 27, 2022


Joburg - Public Works Minister Patricia de Lille says there has been progress made with land releases and hand-overs, but the process must move much faster.

De Lille said this at the title deeds hand-over to the Thornhill Farms Communal Property Trust in Thornhill in the Eastern Cape.

“But I must say: Khawuleza! Let us hurry up; the patience of our people is running out and has been tested for long enough.”

She said there must be urgency in finalising land and title deed transfers, especially for restitution and land redistribution cases.

De Lille added that too many beneficiaries were waiting for their land, and there needed to be a greater push in this regard.

“The government’s land reform programme aims to address the imbalances of our past, but it is also about restoring dignity to our people through land ownership.

“The Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform noted in its May 2019 report that title deeds are one of the common problem themes addressed by their report as instructed by the terms of reference.”

She said one of the panel’s recommendations to advance land reform included the speedy transfer of title deeds and long-term and tradeable leases to beneficiaries of land reform, including those who occupy land already procured for land reform purposes.

The minister said the beneficiaries were moved from 23 villages in Hershel and Sterkspruit between 1975 and 1976 to a vacant piece of land known as Thornhill by the then leader of the Ciskei.

“Before the community was moved to Thornhill, you were promised land, houses, schools and clinics by the South African Deputy Secretary of Bantu Administration.

“However, when the community arrived in Thornhill, they only found tents that could not cater for everyone,” she said.

She added that in March of 1994, before elections, the then minister of land affairs approved the allocation proposals for the land by the Commission for Land Allocation to the community of Thornhill.

“The five properties we are handing over the title deeds for today have an estimated municipal value of over R10 million, measuring more than 2 000 hectares.

“As beneficiaries, you have waited too long and walked a long, painful journey, but that is over now,” said De Lille.

The Star

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