Land claimants want the cash not the land‚ says KZN Land Claims Commission
Nivashni Nair | 2017-05-30 14:12:06.0
Image by: SIPHIWE SIBEKO
Land claimants want cash‚ not land – and it’s hurting land reform in South Africa.
The KwaZulu-Natal land claims commissioner’s office said on Monday R423.9-million of the R670.7-million government settled from 110 claims last year resulted in financial compensation.
The balance was settled with actual land. Analysis from almost 40‚000 claims lodged in the province between 2014 and 2016 showed that claimants preferred cash to land.
“We asked them at the point of lodgement what they would prefer‚ and most said they would prefer financial compensation‚” KZN Land Restitution Support chief direction Advocate Bheki Mbili said on Tuesday.
He was speaking in Durban at a briefing on the implementation of land reform and restitution in the province. He told TMG Digital that opting for money was a “general problem across the country”.
“We are dealing with second‚ third or fourth generation in so far as victims of land dispossession. So it is people who did not have first-hand experience of the pain that people had to go through when they were removed from the pieces of land that they owned at the time.
“Many of the claimants already have small pieces of land and some don’t even live in those areas where their forefathers were removed from. Some say to us that they don’t want more land than they already own and the risk involved if they ask us to buy them these huge pieces of land that will go out of production‚” Mbili said.
He said claimants raised these issues only because they are given the option to take the cash.
“The problem with this is that if you look at the outcome of first phase of the land audit‚ the amount of land that it is private land particularly that is owned by white people in this country is still in the region of between 70 and 80%. We can only change the land ownership pattern if people opt for restoration. If they opt for financial compensation the pattern stays the same. If you take the money you don’t dent the problem that currently exists‚” Mbili said.