Outstanding Land Claims Noted By Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform

NOVEMBER 20, 2014

The Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform on Thursday said that it had noted the report by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) on the systematic challenges affecting the land restitution process in South Africa.

While the Committee appreciates progress made in the restoration of claimants’ land, it also notes that one of the challenges with the process is the backlog in claims lodged prior to 31 December 1998 and the lack of capacity to settle land claims timeously. 

“The delays in processing claims are worrying, but the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights has plans to settle all backlogs and outstanding claims. In terms of the amendments to the Restitution of Land Rights Act, ‘old’ claims must be prioritised,” said the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee, Phumzile Ngwenya-Mabila.

The SAHRC briefed the Committee on the challenges involved in land restitution and told the Committee that there are more than 4 000 outstanding land claims.

Ngwenya-Mabila noted that the report focused more on stakeholder perspectives than engaging with claimants who had lodged complaints with the SAHRC.

“The Committee accepts that the restitution and redistribution of land is not an event, but a process and that there are many processes that need to be followed before a claim is finalised. Therefore, South Africans need to be patient,” Ngwenya-Mabila said.