Fraud probe of Ugu land claims

2011-08-04 00:00

THE KwaZulu-Natal Land Claims Commission has asked the Special Investigative Unit (SIU) to probe land claims filed in the Ugu Region as there are concerns that some of the claims are being manipulated fraudulently. This revelation comes as a large group of people from that area descended on the commission’s offices in Pietermaritzburg yesterday to find out about the progress of their claims. The communities are seeking financial compensation.

By yesterday afternoon, there were at least 25 taxis packed with people in front of the commission’s offices, with more still on the way.

A large group of young and old people were standing in front of the commission’s door sorting out copies of ID books that were being collected. The security guards locked the doors for fear that the people might stage a sit-in. Bonginkosi Hlongwane, a community leader, said they are concerned with the slow progress of their claim and decided to find out the progress from the department.

“What we have noticed is that the settlement process has been very secretive; you learn that some claims in other parts of the area have been settled and some people have been paid while many people have not heard

anything.

“We are here because we want our government to explain what is happening and to give us what is rightfully due to us.”

Walter Silauli, a senior official of the commission, said as far as they are aware almost all the financial claims have been paid out in that area. Silauli said they asked the SIU to probe some of the claims as they believe they are being fraudulently inflated to get more money from the commission. He said the commission has laid a case with the police. However, this could not be immediately verified as the case number was not available.

“There must be at least 49 or so people that have not been paid, but the rest of the financial settlements have been paid out,” Silauli said.

“We have recently learned that some people are collecting money from the community in exchange of putting them on the claimants list. Most of these people (at the commission’s offices) are fraudulent; in a meeting we recently held with them some could not even remember where they were forcefully removed from.”

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