SA misses target to settle land claims

Gugile Nkwinti

Gugile Nkwinti

CAPE TOWN. — The South African government has missed the targets to settle land claims by 41 percent and finalise land claims by 77 percent for the first quarter of 2015, it was revealed yesterday.

This emerged from a presentation by the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform.

Statistics obtained from the hearing showed that the commission set itself a target of settling 92 land claims in the first quarter of 2015, but it only achieved 38 settlements, missing it by 41 percent. This despite an annual target of settling 463 land claims.

Meanwhile, a target of finalising 74 land claims was set for the same period, yet only 57 were achieved, missing its target by 77 percent.

Again, the commission is far off from settling its annual target of 373.

Only 195 claims lodged by 1998 were researched in the first quarter despite an annual target of 2, 660 and a first quarter target of 532; and over this same period, a further 20 737 new claims were received by the commission.

This prompted the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) to call for an urgent and speedy intervention by Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Gugile Nkwinti into the affairs of this Commission. “Such an intervention should be aimed at urgently assessing the capacity, productivity and financial resources of the Commission to perform its fundamental function to bring redress to those who have made land claims,” said Thomas Walters, DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform.

The unmet targets and the growing bottleneck are resulting in a fundamentally unfair setting for victims of past discriminatory practices in relation to land who are trying to find redress, he said.

Settling land claims is part of the land reform advocated by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) to eliminate the legacy of apartheid.

ANC has acknowledged that the land reform progressed at a slow pace, falling short of expectations of the vast majority. — Xinhua.