SA landowners should prove land belongs to them, meeting hears

2016-04-21 19:04
(Supplied to News24)

(Supplied to News24)

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Johannesburg – It would be hard to prove which piece of land historically belonged to which people, because apartheid had broken up many families, a public meeting on the expropriation bill was told on Thursday.

"The family structures were destroyed from the onset when the white man came and took the land. So we do not have that history to say who was owning the land before," said Ntando Mgqubu.

The onus should be on the current landowners to prove the land belonged to them, instead of putting the burden on blacks trying to reclaim it.

Mqgubu was part of a group of around 250 people of all ages, from several parts of Gauteng, who gathered at the Mogale City Hall in Krugersdorp to share their views on the expropriation bill.

The much-criticised bill was passed by the National Assembly in February, despite objections from opposition parties, including the DA and EFF.

Public interest, public use

The bill provides for property to be expropriated in the public interest and for public use.

Idah Hlabangwane, expressed concern over how the bill would affect her family. They had been farming on a piece of what they thought was free-standing land for about 18 years.

Hlabangwane said she was about five years old when her mother and others embarked on the project to produce food for themselves.

Last year, Eskom told them they needed to move as the power utility was putting up electricity pylons in the area.

"Then a few months later, some other people came with papers. They came to us and told us that there will be a time when we will be forcefully removed," she said.

Inspecting the land

"They didn't tell us whether we would be given an alternative space, but we were simply told that we would be removed so that houses could be built," said Hlabangwane, who explained the people were from the housing department.

"They came back early this year with more papers and they were inspecting the land," she said.

The 22-year-old said their future was uncertain. 

"Most of us are not working. We did not get funds to go to university. Our parents are illiterate, so it's hard for them to get jobs, and we will definitely be moved because we have no title deed," she said.

She questioned why the department had not picked other open pieces of ground near the land they were farming.

"I feel like I am leaving here with even more question marks," she said after the meeting.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  land

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