Land Claims must pay up

2010-05-12 00:00

THE Land Claims Court has issued a massive costs order against the KwaZulu-Natal Land Claims Commission after farms that were not claimed, were erroneously listed in the Government Gazette as being under claim.

Judge Antonie Gildenhuys found that, as a result of this error, the Ingonyama Trust, which owns the farms, had to incur considerable expense to oppose the “claim”.

According to Gildenhuys, assisted by Professor Marinus Wiechers as assessor, the court papers submitted by the land claimants and the commission were not arranged in chro­nological order, despite pre-trial discussions, and various irrelevant documents were also submitted.

Furthermore, the commission submitted no maps or aerial photographs of the relevant farms.

The land owners obtained the necessary maps and aerial photographs, at their own expense, so that the case could proceed.

Gildenhuys said he was informed on February 10 that the land claimants never submitted claims on the five farms belonging to the Trust.

The error came to light after the maps and aerial photographs were submitted to the court.

Gildenhuys said the land claims commissioner persisted with the claim, despite the landowners’ evidence.

Gildenhuys said that while there was no “deliberate negligence” by the land claims official, it was “disappointing” that the landowners’ case had been given the cold shoulder. Gildenhuys ordered the land claims commissioner to pay the landowners’ legal costs.

In addition, the land claims commissioner has to pay the Trust’s costs, including the cost of experts who assisted with maps and photographs as well as its legal team’s travel and accommodation costs.

‘Clara’: Communal land law invalid, Concourt rules

JOHANNESBURG — The Constitutional Court ruled yesterday that the Communal Land Rights Act (Clara) is unconstitutional and invalid.

“Parliament followed an incorrect procedure in enacting Clara,” read a media summary on the judgment. The unanimous ruling agreed with a judgment made in the high court in Pretoria last year that the legislation was invalid.

This was a victory for the communities of Kalkfontein and Dixie (both in Mpumalanga), Makuleke (Limpopo) and Makgobistad (North West), which had argued that, far from securing their rights, Clara made them, and people such as single women, less rather than more secure.

This was because, along with the new Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act, it imposed apartheid-era boundaries and structures on their communities.

It proposed the transfer of title to communities, which would be represented by imposed land administration committees based on old tribal authorities. — Sapa.

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