Zulu king’s multibillion-rand land claim not yet lodged

2014-08-20 14:54

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A multibillion-rand land claim by Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithini and other traditional leaders has not been lodged yet, chief land claims commissioner Nomfundo Gobodo said.

“We haven’t received any claim of that nature from the king,” she said today on the sidelines of a briefing to Parliament’s land reform portfolio committee.

Both individuals and traditional leaders were welcome to lodge a claim.

“We receive claims from any citizen ... who can validate they have a right to land as a result of dispossession due to the 1913 act. So as long as your claim relates to that time period then we will receive your claim and we don’t discriminate on who lodges a claim.”

Last month, the Ingonyama Trust, which manages tribal land on behalf of communities in KwaZulu-Natal, indicated it would help the king lodge the claim for land in various provinces.

At the time, trust chairperson Jerome Ngwenya said research was under way to determine the extent of the claim.

The claim would cover land taken from 1838 onwards. According to land claims legislation, only land taken since 1913 could be claimed. This could still make the claim “very substantial”.

Briefing MPs, Gobodo said by Monday afternoon 12 464 new claims had been lodged.

The highest number was lodged in the Western Cape, followed by Gauteng and the Free State.

United Democratic Movement MP Bantu Holomisa expressed concern about the confusion about the new land claims process.

“I’m a little worried by the statement by President [Jacob] Zuma when he said the restitution act be amended to allow people dispossessed before 1913 to lodge a claim,” Holomisa said.

“Recently we heard that the king of the Zulus [and the] the Ingonyama Trust are going to claim in KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and the Free State and when you look at it, it dates back up to the 18th century.

“So we need to make sure that we manage this, and the department and yourselves must take the lead on advising the minister and the president.”

Gobodo said the Constitution prevented the commission from accepting any claims for land dispossessed prior to 1913.

“If any individual comes to us and says I’m here to lodge a claim for dispossession that happened in 1800, as a commission we have no mandate to take on that claim,” she said.

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