Land bill: talks on talks spark row

2011-02-08 00:00

THE Department of Rural Development and Land Reform will visit various communities in KwaZulu-Natal from February 14 to 24 to conduct public hearings on the Land Tenure Security Bill.

The department’s provincial spokesperson, Sipho Dlamini, said the first public meeting will be held in uMgungundlovu at a venue yet to be determined.

In Pietermaritzburg on Friday a meeting about a meeting to discuss the bill degenerated into a bunfight as confusion over the agenda caused tempers to flare.

Department officials were at pains to explain that the meeting was called to map out how public hearings would proceed and that it was not in fact an official public hearing at which delegates were to give input about the bill.

According to an e-mail sent by department officials, a public hearing on the bill was scheduled to take place yesterday.

The e-mail reads: “The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform will be having a public hearing session on its Land Tenure Security Bill as gazetted on 24 December 2010.

“Organisations, individuals and community people are encouraged to consider making written submissions of the comments that they may have on the bill,” it adds.

However, when delegates from organised agriculture, land rights group and government departments arrived at the meeting, they were informed of the miscommunication.

Dlamini said yesterday the department is already taking submissions on the bill, which will include communities’ opinions and be presented to Parliament.

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