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MEDIA STATEMENT: CLAIMANTS INFORMED ON THE STATUS OF OLD AND NEW ORDER LAND CLAIMS - 17 AUGUST 2017

Over 416 land claimants who attended a report back meeting organized by the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights in the Hlanganani area of the Vhembe District in Limpopo were informed about the progress of the outstanding land claims lodged before the 1998 cut-off date.

The Commission also gave an assurance that all new land claims lodged between 1 July 2014 and 27 July 2016 are legitimate even though The Constitutional Court has declared the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Act of 2014 invalid.

Mrs Lorraine Mosebedi, Deputy Director: Information Management Support in the Limpopo Regional Land Claims Commissioner’s Office speaking to claimants during the meeting said that all claim files submitted are sealed and safely locked away; such files will be processed once the national parliament passes the required law.

On 28 July 2016 the Constitutional Court handed down a unanimous judgement declaring the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Act of 2014 (the Amendment Act) invalid. The Amendment Act reopened the lodgement of land restitution claims for a period of 5 years, then calculated from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2019.

She told claimants that the Court has interdicted the Commission from processing land claims lodged between 1 July 2014 and 27 July 2016 until a new law reopening lodgement of claims is passed, or until claims submitted before the initial window which closed in 1998 are finalised or referred to the Land Claims Court.

The Court gave Parliament two years within which to pass another law that would re-open the lodgement of land claims and to ensure that the process complies with the Constitution.

She further indicated that the Constitutional Court has ordered the Chief Land Claims Commissioner to approach it for remedy should the new Act not be re-enacted within two years from the date of judgment.

The meeting, held at the Majosi Tribal office on Wednesday 15 August was meant to provide first-hand information regarding both the status of the old order claims and the implications of the Constitutional court judgment (LAMOSA) on new order claims, which are claims lodged from July 2014 to 27 August 2016.

The meeting was convened in order to breach communication gap between the Commission and its stakeholders and to provide regular feedback on the work of the Commission.

This was in line with the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights and the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform’s resolve that there should be improved communication and coordination between the government and various stakeholders such as the claimant communities to fast-track the settlement of land claims.

In order to put this matter into effect, the Commission convened the said meeting that was well attended by both claimant communities and prospective claimants.

During the meeting, the Commission also provided a detailed report on the status of five land claims not yet finalized in the area that were lodged before the 1998 cut-off date.

One of the claimants’ representatives, Mr Mafemani Wilson Golele, speaking after the meeting expressed his great appreciation of the Commission officials coming down to the remote villages to address the community.

“I am grateful and thankful to the Department and the Commission who saw it fit to come down to the village to speak to us, today all of us knows that our claims are safely locked away awaiting the national parliament to pass the required law so that we can also enjoy the fruit of the restitution programme.” said Mr Golele.

The meeting was a direct response to many enquiries received on daily basis from claimants regarding the status of their claims and the implications of the Constitutional Court judgement.

Those attending the meeting were duly informed that there are 6607 outstanding claims at national level with 507 claims still to be settled in the Limpopo Province.

-Ends-

Enquiries:
Mr Avhashoni Magada
Communication Manager: Office of the Regional Land Claims Commissioner - Limpopo
Mobile: 0824657848 - Tel: 015 230 5025
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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