will they or won’t they: land claims in south africa and the 1913 cut-off date

11May11

From Business Day:

RURAL Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti plans to ask the Cabinet to permit more land claims by black South Africans who lost their property before 1913.

Legislation providing for land claims, which has cost the fiscus billions of rand, had as a cut-off date for restitution the promulgation of the 1913 Land Act, which removed the right of black South Africans to own land in more than 80% of the country.

The procedurally complex claims process is administered by the Land Claims Commission, which has battled for years to verify the authenticity of claims.

It has largely benefited those forcefully removed by apartheid laws from urban areas, rather than rural communities, and stunted investment in agricultural development due to fear of land being expropriated by the state.

The restitution of claimants is a separate programme from the government’s drive to redistribute farmland to black South Africans through the “willing seller, willing buyer” policy.

[…]

Mtobeli Mxotwa, spokesman for Mr Nkwinti, said if land claims were reopened, they could be extended to periods before 1913 and might require a further three years to finalise.

From Fin24 (SAPA):

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.



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