The Foundation for Human Rights (FHR), in partnership with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DoJ & CD), hosted a two-day national training aimed at building the capacity of the Community-Based Advice Offices (CBAOs) to assist communities with land claims, from 12-13 July 2017 in Polokwane, Limpopo Province.
South Africa comes from a history in which the dispossession of the land rights of the majority of black people in South Africa - following colonialism and apartheid, including the passing of the Glen Grey Acts, the Natives’ Land Act of 1913 and 1936 and other racially discriminatory laws and practices which resulted in large numbers of individuals and communities becoming landless.
Speaking during the event, Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, Dr Mathole Motshekga, acknowledged the critical role that CBAOs play in utilising the law to advance the rights of ordinary people in South Africa. Motshekga urged delegates attending the training to work together with the DoJ & CD and other relevant stakeholders to finalise the outstanding land claims. Responding to the view that the younger land claimants prefer financial compensation as opposed to the older generation, Dr Motshekga warned everyone that financial compensation will not resolve the land problem in the country because this approach will further leave the next generations landless.
While settling the outstanding land claims remain a priority in South Africa, the revelation by the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights in Limpopo that there are over 1 500 unresolved land claims in Limpopo alone, and the slow turnaround time for settling them, point to a bigger problem in the country.
The Commission’s Mr Naledzani Mukwevho argued the majority of the outstanding claims in Limpopo are due to chieftaincy-related disputes. Mukwevho discussed the work of the Commission based on its experiences in Limpopo and also highlighted the problem of owners who sell land that has been claimed but not yet transferred as a major challenge.
The training brought together 60 CBAOs from the nine provinces, representatives from Legal Aid and South Africa Justice College. It focused on the historical context of land restitution, the legal framework of land claims, land claims process, the role of the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights, the role of the Land Claims Court, as well as to assist land claimants to address land claims disputes through mediation.
In order to take this process forward, the FHR will work closely with the DOJ&CD in hosting the National Land Conference from 13-14 September 2017 in Cape Town.
For more information contact:
Mr Butjwana Seokoma
Media and Communications Officer
Foundation for Human Rights
Tel: 011 484 0390
For more about the Foundation for Human Rights, refer to our website: www.fhr.org.za
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