Land claimants report govt to HRC

2010-04-19 00:00

THE Enhlalakahle community in Greytown has reported the Rural Development and Land Affairs Department to the Human Rights Commission (HRC), saying the department’s failure to settle its land claim is a human rights violation.

The community has also reported the department to the Public Protector, and previously to the Presidency, although the department admitted last year that it will not be settling any further claims during that financial year because of a lack of funds.

In a letter to the community last year, Walter Silauli, acting director of operations at the Regional Land Claims Commission, said the Enhlalakahle claim has been approved and will be settled when there is money available.

However, the community said it has struggled to resolve the claim since 1998. Many of the claimants are getting old and some are dying, without receiving what is legally due to them, community members added.

Said Chris Mngomezulu, chairman of the Enhlalakahle community claimants’ organisation, “The main problem is that we had been promised that the claim would be settled before the end of the financial year, but the year has ended and nothing has happened.

“Another issue that has made us report the department to the HRC and the Public Protector is that this claim involves many elderly people who are supposed to benefit from it. Because of the slow pace at the department, they will never receive what is due to them because they are dying.”

Mngomezulu said that if the HRC and the Public Protector fail to find a solution, the community will sue Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwithi.

“We will wait until May. If this matter is still unresolved, we will sue the minister and the regional land claims commissioner,” said Mngomezulu.

Tanuja Munnoo, provincial manager of the Human Rights Commission, said the complaint by the Enhlalakahle community has been received and forwarded to its legal department for assessment.

Attempts to contact the Land Claims Commission were unsuccessful.

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