AS part of educating and informing communities about the reopening of the lodgement of land claims, the office of the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights in the Free State has embarked on a series of information sessions around the province.
The aim of the sessions is to inform communities about who qualifies to lodge a land claim, about documentation and information needed to lodge such a claim and that no costs need to be incurred when lodging a claim.
Anyone wishing to lodge a claim can do so at the commission’s office in Bloemfontein or at a mobile lodgement office that will visit areas that are located far from the Bloemfontein office, to give all qualifying citizens an opportunity to lodge their claims.
Persons and communities that were dispossessed of their rights in land, on or after 19 June 1913, as a result of past racially discriminatory laws or practices, and who did not lodge their claims with the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights during the first phase which ended on 31 December 1998, qualify to lodge a land claim.
The second phase of lodging land claims started from 1 July 2014 and the new cut-off date to lodge land claims is 30 June 2019.
This came after President Jacob Zuma signed the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Act into law last year.
Information sessions have already been held in Odendaalsrus, Bothaville, Sasolburg, Bethlehem, Kroonstad and Bethulie. These sessions will be held every week in various towns in the Free State.
The signing of the Act into law reopens the restitution claims process that closed at the end of 1998 and gives claimants five years X until 30 June 2019 X to lodge further claims.
The first period for lodgement was opened between 1994 and 1998.
Although land claims were made and settled, a great number of people complained that they had not been aware of the process and had missed the initial lodgement window.