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Govt releases land parcels

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The 15 properties were more than 4 000 hectares in size, with their collective value standing at around R18.8 million

THE MINISTER of Public Works and Infrastructure, Patricia de Lille, has announced the release of hundreds of land parcels to South Africans across various provinces – including four state-owned farms in the Northern Cape – and in the process reversing the legacy of apartheid by returning land to dispossessed families and people of colour who were stripped of their dignity.

Yesterday, the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) indicated that the land was released in line with the government’s commitment to land restitution, redistribution and tenure.

The land released in the Northern Cape included four state-owned properties which were given to the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) to settle the restitution claim by the Doraan family.

“This claim was lodged before the December 31, 1998 cut-off date and complied with the provisions of the Restitution of Land Right Act, 1994. The market value as at March 2018 for the four erven (2.8 hectares) being transferred to the Doraan family stood at approximately R3.2 million,” she said.

In a statement, De Lille said the department was in the process of returning land to dispossessed families and that the process itself has been a long one but one that should be hastened with urgency “so that claimants can finally have closure as they have already waited too long since the land claims process closed in 1999”.

Following her appointment, De Lille had indicated that the issue of spatial planning would also be one of the issues that she would take up as part of doing away with apartheid spatial planning which placed black people away from their workplaces and job opportunities.

De Lille said she had already signed off numerous requests for releasing land under the custodianship of her department for human settlements and restitution purposes over the past 10 months.

“In October, 167 portions of state-owned land measuring 14 105 hectares held by the DPWI was approved by Cabinet to be released. In addition to the

14 105, DPWI has processed the release of an additional 648 hectares of land that has since been approved for release for human settlements developments,” she said.

In the Eastern Cape, she said various state-owned properties were released in Humansdorp to settle the restitution claim by the direct descendants of the AmaMfengu community that settled in the Tsitsikamma area during the Anglo-Xhosa “frontier wars” of 1833-1834.

“The AmaMfengu Community were dispossessed of their land and forcibly removed from the claimed properties in October 1927. Their removal was done in terms of the Black Administration Act of 1972. Fifteen other properties under the custodianship of DPWI were found to be available for the restitution claim.”

She said the 15 properties were more than 4 000 hectares in size, with their collective value standing at around

R18.8 million.

In KwaZulu-Natal, around 2.1 hectares of state-owned land has been released to the eThekwini Municipality for human settlements purposes in Cato Manor for the upgrading and formalisation of the informal settlement.

Other released portions of land were in Mpumalanga, North West and Limpopo.

De Lille said she had also acceded to the request by the City of Tshwane to release a portion of Farm Elandsfontein for human settlements where around

4 000 houses would be built for the benefit of several informal settlements.