Land claim issues should be treated as a matter of urgency - Mashatile

Friday, September 22, 2023

Deputy President Paul Mashatile has labelled the issue of land claims as sensitive and one that needs to be treated with the utmost urgency it deserves. 

The Deputy President was on Friday responding to questions in the National Assembly on progress achieved by government in resolving land claims, as part of the land reform programme.

Speaking to Members of Parliament (MPs), he said as of June this year, there were 5 407 outstanding old order claims instead of the 6 600, as indicated by a Parliamentarian, who had posed a question to the Deputy President.  

“There has been some movement now that is taking place,” he assured MPs. 

Meanwhile, the Deputy President said government has since adopted several interventions to support the acceleration of land reform programmes. 

This, according to Mashatile, includes the Expropriation Bill that is currently being considered by the National Council of Provinces. 

“The Land Court Amendment Bill, which includes provisions for communal land transfer, registration, title and appointment of a land rights enquirer, has been sent to the President for assent.” 

The bill, Mashatile explained, aims to regulate the administration and use of communal land by communities within the framework of the applicable laws, including spatial planning and land use management. 

The Deputy President noted the revision of the Property Valuation Act to provide for the precise scope of the Office of the Valuer-General and methodology to determine just and equitable compensation. 

In addition, the State is identifying land needs within cities and towns to inform the land reform programme, prioritising land needs for human settlements, and industrial, economic and urban agricultural development. 

This move, the Deputy President, aims to change spatial patterns and enhance socio-economic advancement. 

He told MPs that the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Land Reform and Agriculture will continue to review the best plausible options to improve the overall financing of the Backlog Reduction Strategy, as introduced by the Commission. 

The Deputy President believes that this will help to accelerate the settlement of old order claims so that government can resolve this matter within a reasonably shorter period. –