Land claims in KZN are piling up

2015-07-30 08:16

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SINCE the re-opening of the land claim window just 12 months ago over 14 000 new claims have been lodged in KwaZulu-Natal.

The majority of the claims have been made on land in eThekwini (6 012) while claims in Umgungundlovu currently total 2 494 with the bulk happening in Msunduzi (789). The new land claims lodgement period opened in July 2014 and only closes in 2019.

But farm lobby groups have expressed concern that at least “80-100% of all farm land” in KZN is already under claim from the previous land period which closed in 1998 and that the sheer volume of claims does not speak to the amount of available farmland either.

Danie du Plessis, Transvaal Agricultural Union KZN regional representative said their “experts” have estimated that there could be as many as 370 000 claims in this province alone. “There is simply not enough agricultural land. Unless there is a time frame put in place on the land claims issue we could be facing claims for the next 30 to 40 years,” said Du Plessis.

He said while the new claim period is asking for greater detail from the claimants, the commission would need to be better resourced to review each claim.

Du Plessis said what compounded the issue was that once a farm had been “claimed against” and restitution had been made usually through a cash payout, the same farm could be claimed against again by new beneficiaries leading to instability of tenure for the farmer.

KZN Agricultural Union (Kwanalu) head Sandy le Marque said while they support land reform there needs to be a “departure point” to end claims continuing years into the future.

The land commission document, presented by KZN’s chief director of restitution Advocate Bheki Mbili last week to the KZN Legislature said the research of new claims will “commence after the research on old claims [from 1998] has been completed”. “The total number of claims lodged since July 1 2014 to date is 14 602. These are deemed to be quality claims as the screening of documents and enforcement of lodgement requirements before the claim is lodged are very stringent,” said Mbili.

He, however, said one “cannot rule out the risk of fraudulent claims” even if all required documents are available and in order, adding they had systems in place to tackle this

Read more on:    kwazulu-natal  |  land claims

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