Govt 'won't reopen land claims'

Johannesburg - The government on Tuesday denied a report that it intended reopening the claims process to compensate families who were moved from their land

The SABC reported that the process would be reopened to include those who had missed earlier deadlines and those whose ancestors were uprooted before 1913.

Rural development and land reform department spokesperson Mtobeli Mxotwa said the government received a proposal from claimants on Monday asking that the process be reopened.

However, the proposal, made to Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti, would have to be referred to the Cabinet and the president before it could be considered by the government, he said.

Nkwinti was asked by claimants in the Kenton-on-Sea informal settlement on Monday to reopen the window for lodging land claims.

They told him thousands of people forcibly removed from their land in the area had been excluded during the restitution period, said Mxotwa.

Nkwinti had informed them of a similar request made during a national restitution workshop in Johannesburg over the weekend.

They claimed that the department's verification of land claims had been poorly done and that the land claim period of three years had been too short.

At the meeting in Kenton-on-Sea, Nkwinti handed compensation vouchers to claimants so they could submit them to their banks before the May 27 cut-off.

The community opted for financial compensation instead of land and was paid out about R16m, or R103 541 a person.

"There were 199 claims lodged and 157 of these have been finalised. The outstanding claims will be processed and also paid during the course of the year," said Mxotwa

Tatu Ndiliza, a resident of Klipfontein, in Kenton-on-Sea, said it was unfair that some people had benefited from the land claims process, while others had been left out.

He said some people had been unable to lodge their claims during the three-year claim period as they were in hospital, and that others had been unaware of the restitution process because it had not been widely publicised.

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