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NC residents welcome reopening of land claims

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Parliament wants to ensure a thorough and extensive public consultation process to allow South Africans to make inputs on the Bill

Picture: Reuters/African News Agency (ANA)

NORTHERN Cape residents have shown their support for the intended reopening of land claims.

A majority of citizens who attended this week’s public hearings on the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill in Postmasburg, told the Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform that they supported the Bill’s intended objective of reopening the period for the lodgement of land claims after the December 1998 closing date.

Most of those who spoke during the public hearings from the ZF Mgcawu District Municipality, said land restitution would not be a success if some were left out of the process. The residents indicated their support of the Bill, which seeks to reopen the process after research found that most people were left out of the first phase which closed in 1998.

The Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform is conducting extensive public hearings, countrywide, on the redrafted Bill after it was reintroduced in the National Assembly as a Private Members’ Bill by Member of Parliament, Pumzile Mnguni, following a Constitutional Court judgement that nullified the Restitution of Land Rights Act of 2014.

Parliament passed the Restitution of Land Rights in 2014 to reopen the lodgement of land claims for a period of five years, and the Land Access Movement of South Africa (Lamosa) took the matter to the Constitutional Court, which declared that the Act was invalid, because “Parliament failed to satisfy its obligation to facilitate public involvement in accordance with Section 72 (1)(a) of the Constitution”.

A spokesperson for the committee said yesterday that this time Parliament wants to ensure a thorough and extensive public consultation process to allow as many as possible South Africans to make inputs on the Bill.

“The committee appreciated the inputs and suggestions from the public, and the Members of Parliament also learnt from ordinary people.”

The Public hearings in the Northern Cape continued yesterday in the Pixley Ka Seme District in Prieska.