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Land hearings have resumed

The Mercury
19 Jun 2018
Mayibongwe Maqhina

PARLIAMENT has started the nationwide public hearings into the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill aimed at reopening the lodging of land claims after the December 1998 cut-off.  The bill was sent back to the drawing board after the Constitutional Court found that public participation processes were inadequate.  The ANC’s Phumzile “PJ” Mnguni has since introduced a private member’s bill to ensure that there is compliance with the court order.  Yesterday, Mnguni said the portfolio committee on rural development and land reform was making sure as many citizens as possible got an opportunity to give input on the redrafted bill.  Parliament’s spokesperson, Moloto Mothapo, said hearings were scheduled for the Free State, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Northern Cape.

The first hearings were held in Limpopo and Northern Cape yesterday and will continue today.
Mpumalanga and Free State will have their hearings on Thursday and Friday.
They will be followed by North West, KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and Eastern Cape next week.
The committee will spend two days in the Western Cape, on July 2 and 3.

The bill seeks to amend the 1994 Restitution of Land Rights Act by “amending the cut-off date for lodging of land claims by those dispossessed of property in terms of section 25(7) of the constitution”.  A statement from the committee said the Restitution Act of 1994 provided equitable redress to those who were dispossessed of their land rights under the colonial and apartheid governments.  “This Bill, therefore, amends certain definitions; amends the cut-off date for lodgement of land claims; regulates matters related to judges of the Land Claims Court; and creates certain offences.”  The bill says a person or community dispossessed of property after June 19, 1913, as a result of past racially discriminatory laws is entitled to restitution of that property, or to equitable redress.

The hearings on expropriation of land without compensation will be from June27 to August 4 in all nine provinces.