Land claims process “progressing well”

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Pretoria – The Department of Rural Development says the land claims process is progressing well a day after the window to lodge claims for restitution was re-opened.

“A steady stream of claimants  have made their way to designated lodgement sites around the country to lodge claims for land from which they lost  due to the racially biased laws and policies of the past,” said the department on Wednesday.

The reopening of the window for land claims to individuals, families and communities who were dispossessed of their land by the 1913 Natives Land Act and subsequent legislation got underway on 1 July.

This was after the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Act was signed into law by the President on Monday.

South Africans who were dispossessed of their land after 1913 are encouraged to lodge claims for restitution.

Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform Mr Gugile Nkwinti said the re-opening was for a period of five years ending June 2019.

He said the department was prepared to deal with all new claims, including the fast tracking of the existing claims that were lodged during the initial re-opening period.

The process accommodates those who did not submit restitution claims before the 1998 cut-off date. Individuals and communities who submitted their claims before the initial 1998 deadline and were rejected cannot resubmit claims for the same land.

The department has published a manual in all South African languages, including Braille, on how to lodge a claim. These are being distributed throughout the country and can be found on the department’s website at www.ruraldevelopment.gov.za.

An electronic lodgement form has been developed with security features and no forms will be distributed at the sites.

Members of the public have been urged to report individuals selling fraudulent claim forms on the anti-fraud hotline number: 0800 701 701. It is illegal to submit a fraudulent claim, including not disclosing other potential interested parties.

It is also an offence to prevent or obstruct anyone from lodging a claim.

Information on the location of the lodgement offices, criteria for qualification, and a copy of the manual, is available from the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform’s website: www.ruraldevelopment.gov.za or the toll free number: 0800 007 095. 

The information can also be obtained by sending a message to the email address: claim@ruraldevelopment.gov.za. – SAnews.gov.za

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