18 November 2018


Taung residents want land claims reopened

by: Malatswa Molepo and Nthusang Lefafa   date: 29 june 2018

The majority of participants from the North West province who participated in land claim public
hearings in Taung, expressed support for the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill.
The hearings were hosted by Parliament’s
Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform. Among other things, the amendments
seek to provide for the reopening of the second phase of land claims under the
restitution programme.
“The majority of responses we received are in the affirmative of the amendments. We are greatly appreciative of the quality
and depth of discussions in the province and are looking forward to qualitative discussions
in other provinces, as we consult
as widely as possible,” said leader of the delegation, Nosilivere Magadla.
Research capacity within the Commission for Restitution of Land Rights was one issue highlighted during the hearings.
While the capacity challenges within
the commission must be urgently addressed, the committee is unconvinced
that this should be the sole reason not to pass the amendments.
Enhancing this capacity will ensure that the commission moves with speed to settle the over 7000 remaining claims from
the initial phase. 

Another point raised during hearings
was the need to establish constituency offices, especially in rural areas to enable people to lodge their claims.
“Constituency offices coupled with educational programmes on the lodgement
of claims are areas that must be strongly considered by the department if the amendments are adopted,” Magadla

The committee also appreciated views that do not support the Bill, along with proposals to strengthen the amendments.
After extensive consultations,
the committee will consolidate all views and reach a definitive resolution and a
strengthened Bill. 
The committee continued with hearings in Klerksdorp before moving to Gauteng, the Eastern Cape and Western Cape as it upholds the Constitutional Court ruling for extensive public participation around the Bill.
Meanwhile, a Parliamentary Joint Con-stitutional Review Committee tasked with
reviewing Section 25 of the Constitution dealing with the right of property ownership has appointed a service provider to
assist with analysing the large number of submissions it has received.
The committee announced on Sunday
that it had received more than 700‚000 electronic and hard copy submissions by
the closing date for written submissions, which was June 15.
Earlier this year, the committee called for written public submissions on the review
of Section 25 of the Constitution and other sections to make it possible
for the state to expropriate land without compensation.
President Cyril Ramaphosa believes that land redistribution is important to deal with injustices of the past.
“Land is about dignity, identity and security.
It is also linked to culture and heredity. 

Like all economic resources, land has been used to serve the narrow interests of the minority in the country. For
as long as control and management of land serves the interests of a few, South Africa will not be able to reach its full potential and we will not be able to heal the wounds of the past,” he said.