Privatise ex-homeland land - DA
Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance (DA) wants people who live on communally owned land, mainly applying to those who live in the former homelands, to have full and unhindered individual ownership of their land.
DA shadow minister of rural development and land affairs Lindiwe Mazibuko said on Thursday that her party was submitting a private members' bill to Parliament's Speaker Max Sisulu with the aim of giving effect to the notion.
Mazibuko said that people living in the former homelands make up half of South Africa's population of about 50 million.
"It is unacceptable that, in the seventeenth year of democracy, they are still waiting for their land rights to be made secure," she said.
Mazibuko went on to say that the inequities bequeathed by colonialism and apartheid must be redressed to ensure a thriving rural economy that provides for job creation and economic growth.
"We strongly believe that full individual ownership must be extended to ensure that people living on communally owned land are empowered to live unencumbered on their land and leverage it to improve their livelihoods.
"Without full individual property rights, residents on communally owned land cannot use their land as loan collateral, rent, or sell any portion of it to enjoy the full benefits of land ownership," she said.
According to the DA's policy document, land ownership had the potential to ensure the expansion and diversification of the commercial agriculture sector to increase productivity, create more rural jobs and promote food security.
Mazibuko said the Constitutional Court's May 2010 finding necessitated the legislative amendments as the Communal Land Rights Act had been declared unconstitutional.
The DA's proposed law says that legislation must be drafted to ensure that all land in the former homelands is surveyed so that it is known exactly how much land exists and who is living on it.
Currently, this land is categorised as "un-surveyed, unregistered state land" and "trust land" and is not properly registered in any database.
"Once the process of surveying land is complete, land must be registered in individuals' names in the Deeds Registry after a public announcement has been made calling for individual community members to register ownership of the land they are currently living on," Mazibuko said.
She said the rates collection system that applied in municipal areas should be applied in these areas as well, so that the entire country would be covered by a simple and uniform rates collection system.
"Currently, this system is not applied to communally held land. This new system would require these areas to be demarcated as municipalities and therefore subject to the provisions of the Municipal Systems Act," Mazibvuko said.
"We trust that the portfolio committee on private members' legislative proposals and special petitions will consider our proposal favourably, and bring much needed relief to the residents on communally owned land.
"People living in the former homelands have been denied individual land ownership for too long. We believe it is high time that their rights are recognised as part of our national land reform strategy."