The petition on land claims was submitted by the DA member to the Speaker of Parliament on behalf of a group of Western Cape land restitution claimants. The Speaker had referred the matter to the Committee for consideration. A large contingent of claimants attended proceedings. There was a multitude of complaints against the Commission on the Restitution of Land Rights. Huge delays in dealing with claims, the loss of documents at the Commission’s Offices, intimidation and harassment by Commission staff were some of the major allegations that were made by claimants against the Commission. Many of the claimants felt that the land restitution process was corrupt.
Emotions ran high during inputs that were made by claimants. Many of the claimants were of Khoisan origin and felt that they were being marginalised and discriminated against by South African laws.
The Chairperson tried to allay the concerns of the claimants by assuring that all issues raised and complaints made would investigated by the Committee.
Commission on the Restitution of Land Rights provided the Committee with a brief factual breakdown of claims handled in Stellenbosch, Constantia, Claremont/Newlands,
Oral Submissions by Land Restitution Claimants
Ms Annette Steyn (DA) had forwarded the petition to the Speaker of Parliament on behalf of a group of
Ms H Matlanyane (ANC) was asked by the Chairperson to chair the proceedings for the day. She said that the Committee expected claimants to provide an overview of their specific claims.
The Committee agreed to afford claimants the opportunity to make inputs on their individual claims. Individuals were asked to introduce themselves and to provide specifics on their claims as well as on grievances they had in relation thereto.
Ms Joan Dodgen was the first to proceed. Her land claim was in Kleinvlei,
Mr Sizani said that the matters dealt with in the meeting should be relevant to the petition in order to keep proceedings official. Persons who were part of the petition would be allowed to make inputs.
Mr Ken Abrahams who had a claim in Crawford, Athlone asked if persons like himself who were not included in the petition would be allowed to make inputs.
Mr Sizani said that persons not included in the petition would also be given an opportunity after petitioners had made inputs. Inputs continued.
Mr N Nel said that he represented the Khoisan people. He considered the Khoisan to be the aboriginal people of
The Khoi people had for generations stayed on land which had been ripped away from them by colonialists and subsequent governments. This was done all in the name of the law. Laws were passed which disposed the Khoi of their land. He objected to the Khoi people being labelled as coloured.
The state made it difficult for the Khoi to claim their land back.The government was well aware of the history of the Khoi people and there were records of their forced removals. The Khoi people were calling out for help. The persons affected were ageing and many would not be around if delays were to continue. Rich individuals had the option of going to court whereas the Khoi could not afford this option. Even the compensation paid out by the government was minimal. People had been deprived culturally, economically and socially. The Constitution guaranteed that everyone had the right to property. However, municipalities developed land without taking the Khoi into consideration.
He challenged Ms Beverley Jansen, Western Cape Regional Land Claims Commissioner, to explain why persons dispossessed of land in
Another example was the DA selling land in Hermanus. He requested Parliament to assist. A further concern was that the government was using land that was being claimed, to address transformation issues. Other land should be used to address transformation. After
Mr Sizani asked claimants to focus on how their claims were being handled. Claims had to be dealt with in terms of existing law. This was the process to be followed by Parliament.
Mr F Mckenzie was the next speaker. He stated emotionally that he had a problem with the term “coloured”. In 1995 he had spoken at an IDASA conference and Mr Nelson Mandela had apologised for the term “coloured”.
Ms P De Lille (ID) said that the present meeting had been called to address the issue of the petition. She asked claimants to stick to land claims issues. It had to be remembered that Parliament functioned in terms of laws.
Mr Mckenzie said the laws being referred to were discriminatory.
Ms De Lille said that the Committee understood the history and context of claimants. The Committee could, however, only assist with specific claims.
Mr Mckenzie stated that funds earmarked for the payment of claimants in Klawer were redirected to KZN. He said that Ms Jansen alleged that there were two delegations representing Klawer. There were not two delegations. Parliament needed a mechanism to intervene when state employees did not do their jobs. Yet there was a Constitution. He pointed out that it was difficult to address Parliament as there were too many protocols to follow.
Ms Matlanyane understood that the issue was emotional. She asked claimants to try to avoid being emotional. The intention was for members to understand complaints and to assist where possible.
Ms Tania Kleinhans, Chairperson of the District Six Advocacy Committee, stated that there had been progress as she had met the Land Affairs Portfolio Committee in 2008. Land in District Six was being sold and transfers were taking place. The City of
The District Six Beneficiary Trust was seen to be illegal. Parliament was even in the process of passing a business plan for the land in question. An impartial commission needed to be appointed to look into the matter. When court action was taken as a last resort how were claimants expected to cover legal costs. Section 29 of the Land Restitution Act provided for the legal costs of claimants who were indigent to be covered by the Commission on the Restitution of Land Rights.
A piece of land being claimed by a claimant was even being marketed in the
She felt that there had to be interventions on issues pertaining to the Commission on the Restitution of Land Rights. Protocols had been followed and exhausted. Twenty four houses had been built in District Six but none of the occupants had sectional titles. The District Six Beneficiary Trust owned the land. The Trust had hijacked the process. She pointed out that Ms Jansen manipulated and intimidated individuals at her offices.
Mr James Henry, Trustee of the Constantia Beneficiary Trust, said that in the beginning it seemed as though progress was being made with the Commission on the Restitution of Land Rights. Later on as an action plan was developed, frustration crept in with no progress being made. Claimants became fed up.
He was concerned about a development taking place at Firgrove in Constantia. Mr Solomons had told Mr Henry that the government had no intention of allowing claimants to get back Constantia land. Claimants decided that it was best to consolidate their efforts. He said that he was once told by a person holding a government position that the reason why the coloured people were suffering was because they had voted for the then National Party. An answer was needed from Parliament on how matters were to be resolved. Was the Constitution only applicable to certain people?
Mr Dennis Joseph representing claimants from the Southern Suburbs stated that it was not possible to deal with land without looking at the history of communities. Prior to 1994 there was much talk about negotiated settlements and there was even the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In addressing the imbalances of the past indigenous people were still being deprived.
There needed to be acknowledgement. Some claimants were waiting more than ten years for their claims to be settled. Even when all requirements in terms of proof of claims were lodged claims were still not finalised. Excuses of government that there were shortfalls in budgets were not good enough. People had lost land and with it went their identities. Land restitution had failed dismally. Government needed to do more. A commission of enquiry needed to be appointed. A support system for claimants was also needed.
He said that commissioners from the Commission on the Restitution of Land Rights would tell claimants that they were old and not going to live long and hence encourage persons to accept monetary pay-outs which were well below the actual value of the land dispossessed. Raapkraal claimants’ documents were lost in the Commission on the Restitution of Land Rights Office. When persons queried progress, officers would ask for reference numbers. Many persons had not been given reference numbers to begin with. It once again came down to the incompetence of the Commission on the Restitution of Land Rights Staff. The truth needed to be uncovered. The issue was about the dignity and respect of all South African people.
Ms De Lille asked Mr Mckenzie who had told him that funds earmarked for compensation pay-outs in the
She addressed Ms Kleinhans and asked for elaboration on the abuse of Section 29 of the Land Restitution Act by Ms Jansen in view of the complaints regarding procedural and administrative issues at the Commission on the Restitution of Land Rights Office.
She asked Mr Henry who had told him that the government had no intention of returning the land in Constantia to claimants.
She asked Mr Joseph if he was referring to those claimants who were waiting ten years for their claims to be resolved, how many of them were there? Were they Constantia or Raapkraal claimants?
Ms Kleinhans said that Section 29 of the Land Restitution Act did make provision for the payment of the legal costs of claimants that were indigent. The claims had been verified and documents had been used in court. Senior Counsel had even been used to argue the matter in court but the issue was referred back to the Commission on the Restitution of Land Rights. Section 29 allowed the Commissioner to use his or her own discretion. The Section 29 application had consequently been declined.
Mr Joseph said that there was a list of claimants. He was, however, concerned that the list did not contain all the names of the claimants. There was a list for every province. The lists of claimants needed to be audited. He felt that Ms Jansen did not keep an open mind. Referring to the people of Raapkraal and Constantia, he said that transfers were currently taking place. There were families and groups who started the claims process ten years ago. It was not up to Ms Jansen to decide which claims were legitimate and which were not. Raapkraal documents had been lodged but the Department had misplaced them. Perhaps it was in the archives.
Ms A Steyn identified herself as the MP that had forwarded the petition to the Speaker of the House. She asked whether there was proof about the allegations that had been made by claimants. Proof was needed as the allegations were serious.
Mr S Ntapane (UDM) referred to Ms Kleinhans’s allegations that land in District Six was sold to the
Mr Henry was asked when Mr Solomons had made the comment that the government did not intend to let claimants move back into Constantia.
Ms P Ngwenya-Mabila (ANC) asked Mr Joseph who was telling claimants that they were old and should take monetary compensation.
She asked Mr Mckenzie about the money that had been earmarked for Klawer. How much money was it and why was it redirected to
Mr Nel was asked how people were deprived of cultural, social and economic activity.
Mr Joseph said that he could provide members with the names of persons who had told claimants that they were old and should take monetary compensation instead. The monetary offers were not on par with market values for land. He added that Firgrove land in Constantia had been set aside for use by the Land Claims Commissioner. Progress was being made but the problem was the relationship between claimants and the Commission on the Restitution of Land Rights Office. Officials should respect the history of claimants.
Mr Mckenzie said that it was difficult to obtain proof about Klawer funds having been transferred to KZN. It had been communicated verbally to him. Often there were no paper trails. He said that he would try to obtain proof.
Citizens were harassed and treated with disrespect at the Commission on the Restitution of Land Rights Office.
He questioned the Constitution and the laws in
Mr Nel said that he was a descendant of a person who had been captured by colonialists. An act of the union stigmatised the indigenous persons as “coloured”. “Coloureds” had no rights. He stated that as a young man in 1973 he witnessed how a white farmer could shoot at a coloured person for mere trespassing. The coloured stigma was illegitimate, indigenous persons were Khoisan. He felt that Black Economic Empowerment, Affirmative Action and the Housing Bill also deprived the Khoi
He noted that not a single claim had been settled by the Commission on the Restitution of Land Rights in
Mr Sizani said that the Committee was well aware of the history and that the Khoi had been discriminated against. History applied to everyone in SA. Discrimination in SA could not be colour coded. Dialogue between everyone was needed to solve problems.
Mr M Swathe (DA) asked Ms Kleinhans how she had found out that land in District Six was being sold to the
He asked Mr Henry who was the person that had said that coloureds were suffering because they had voted for the National Party. What had been done about the comments that had been made?
Mr Henry said that the comments about coloureds suffering because they had voted for the National Party had been uttered by Mr Zolo Skweyiya. It had been stated in a radio broadcast by
He reiterated that Mr Solomons had made the comment about the government not intending for claimants of land in Constantia to return to the area. It had been made on the 23 October 2008 at a meeting in
Mr Sizani referred to the 24 units that had been built in District Six and asked whether they were built as sectional titles or as individual units.
Ms Kleinhans regarded the District Six houses as a pilot project. The government considered it a Phase 1 development. The occupants of the 24 houses did not have sectional titles. Rental was payable into a global account at Nedbank. The District Six Beneficiary Trust was taking charge of the whole development of District Six. She stated that there was proof of the actual 54 units that went on presale in the
When pay-outs were made to claimants the amounts were minimal compared to what third parties sold the land for at market value for. Many of the claimants were elderly and simply wished to move back to the area. Ms Jansen alleged that 99.9 percent of claimants in District Six were represented by the District Six Beneficiary Trust. Where was the proof? The Trust was considered illegitimate and was in violation of its trust deeds. The Chairperson of the Trust was not even a claimant.
Mr Sizani implored claimants who were to address the Committee to refrain from speaking about history again. The Committee appreciated where claimants were coming from but the issue at hand was about the specifics of claims.
Mr H Koopman stated that the Khoisan was the only people in the
Mr Sizani said that if Mr Koopman did not have grievances to a specific claim the Committee would move on.
Mr Japhta also continued with a historical background of his family roots.
Mr Sizani interjected and reiterated that the Committee wished to hear specifics about claims. The Committee had heard enough about history already.
Mr Japhta explained that he needed to provide a brief history in order for everyone present to understand the basis of his family’s claim in Ladysmith near Oudtshoorn in the
Mr Sizani tried to bring across the point that it was no use pointing fingers at each other. The specifics of the 96 morgen claim was what should be discussed.
Mr Cecil Driver stated that he had a claim of three erven in Greyton. The Juries and Du Plessis families were also represented by Mr Driver. He had been waiting since 1998 for his claim to be completed. The Department was apparently struggling to buy the land from the municipality. The municipality on the other hand, said that there was no land available. The Commission on the Restitution of Land Rights Office was dragging its feet on the matter. The claim was almost halfway completed. The process was very time consuming. He asked that the process be speeded up because he was an old man. The claim was for 27000m2. The total available land in the area was
100 000 m2.
Mr Nigel Daniels said that his claim was for 200 morgen of ground that was located in the Aploonskraal, Bredaarsdorp and Kleinpittersielievallei areas. The matter had been with the Commission on the Restitution of Land Rights Office since 1998. The Aploonskraal claim had been rejected because the land at the time was apparently uninhabitable. Now a place had been built on the land where millionaires spent time. In Bredaarsdorp the government at the time had forced his grandfather to sign off family property. He said that he had met three times with a Mr Moloto at the Land Claims Commission. Documents lodged at the Commission had also disappeared. The claims at Aploonskraal and Kleinpittersielievallei had not been approved. A response on the Bredaarsdorp claim was yet to be received. The problem was that some of the family elders had passed away.
Mr Nathan stated that his claim was in the Brooklyn area on behalf of the
Mr Christo Frans had a land claim at Saron Mission Station. It had been lodged in 1998 for 60 000 hectares of ground. In 2007 the claim had been rejected. The matter was taken to court. He conducted his own investigation and communicated his findings to the Land Claims Commissioner. The claim was based on the Mission Station Act. Various pieces of case law were referred to. The cases stated that even if a claim was not good enough, it should be approved.
In January 2010 in response to the court action the Commission on the Restitution of Land Rights communicated that the claim would be finalised. Further problems arose and eventually the claim was rejected. Over the past 11 years a good working relationship had been maintained with the Commission. However, if finality on matters was not going to be achieved by claimants a case of discrimination against the Commission on the Restitution of Land Rights was going to be lodged.
Mr Sizani said that the response by the Commission should explain why claims were taking long and what was being done to address the problem. The allegations made by claimants could be defended as a separate matter.
Commission on the Restitution of Land Rights
Ms Jansen said that restitution was a difficult process. The Commission was tasked with giving back land to its original owners. Claimants had a choice of financial compensation, the specific land claimed or alternative land. In the
A total of 17 000 claims had been lodged; close to 16 000 had been settled. By year end 600 claims would have been finished with only 400 left. She said that the District 6 claims had been settled a while back. To bring persons back to the area the assistance of other governments was needed.
She pointed out that 99 percent of the persons who had signed the petition were not claimants. Two of the organisations who were signatories to the petition were also not claimants. Ms Jansen said that her understanding was that only claimants had the right to complain.
The Committee would be shown the facts. District 6 claims, its business plan and the status of the District 6 Beneficiary Trust would be elaborated upon.
She was not aware of the Sentinel issue in
Ms Jansen continued with a brief factual breakdown of claims handled in Stellenbosch, Constantia, Claremont/Newlands, Houtbay, Kirstenbosch- Protea Village Raapkraal and Goodwood/ Windemere/ Kensington areas. The information per area was broken down in terms of claimants, the number of beneficiaries, property descriptions, the current status of claims, settlement agreements, cost of settlements and overview of implementation and challenges that were faced.
She agreed to give those claimants not covered by the petition a response. The
A handful of persons in District 6 were land owners, the rest were mainly tenants. The District 6 Business Plan was completed and it had been shown to claimants. Claimants were disgruntled by the process. The District 6 Beneficiary Trust had been declared legal and represented 99 percent of claimants. The Trust would not in the future run District 6. Unfortunately, a large portion of the land in District 6 could not be taken back.
She said that she was waiting on Ms Kleinhans to provide the Commission with her mandate in terms of which claimants she was representing. A court had also instructed Ms Kleinhans to provide the Commission with her mandate. The government had decided that District 6 would be placed in a special vehicle in as far as how the area was to be handled. The Business Plan was in place. The decision on what type of vehicle District 6 would take on had to still be taken.
Mr Sizani asked what platform had been created for claimants to make inputs on District 6. Why were all claimants not given the opportunity to make inputs?
Ms Jansen said in the past the Commission, the Trust, government departments and claimants had met to discuss the issue but problems had arisen. It was later decided that a task team should be formed with role players. It included claimants. Ms Kleinhans was yet to submit her mandate to the Commission. If she did she would be allowed to participate on behalf of the claimants she represented.
Mr Sizani asked how huge had District 6 been if 40 hectares of land had been released currently.
Ms Jansen said that besides the land held by the government; the rest of the land in District 6 was in private hands. The Business Plan was drafted to set out where schools, hospitals, etc would be situated.
Ms Kleinhans stated that much of what Ms Jansen stated could be hearsay. She asked if she could respond to what had been said.
Mr Sizani asked if it was correct that Ms Kleinhans was ordered by a court to present her mandate to the Commission.
Ms Kleinhans said that it was correct but there was a clause attached which said that there should be no intimidation.
Mr Sizani felt it best that Ms Kleinhans submit her mandate.
Ms Steyn asked whether it was correct that land could only be returned back to its original owners if it was still available. When did land become unavailable?
Claims were made that documents submitted to the Commission on the Restitution of Land Rights Office often got lost. How would the problem be solved?
She asked why the lists of claimants were not yet finalised. Why were lists incomplete? When would the lists be finalised?
Many claimants alleged that reference numbers were not given to them when claims were lodged. There was therefore no proof that a claim had been lodged. How was the situation to be rectified?
Ms Jansen said that after negotiations between the Commission and the claimant, the claimant would fill in a form. The claimant was thus given a choice to claim from three options. The first was financial compensation which many claimants chose. The second option would be the restoration of the actual land lost if it was still available and it would not cause a public disruption. The third option was where the land was no longer available alternative land would be offered to the claimant.
She confirmed that there were instances where documents were lost at the Commission’s Offices. Commissioners and staff came and went, hence documents were sometimes lost. The Commission did have a database called a land base where claim information was captured. It also captured the reference number that was given to a claimant.
A community claim could be lodged if a person did not put in a personal claim. Community claims was still open. A community claim could involve many persons. It could represent, for example, 5 000 persons.
Mr Ntapane asked what the problems were associated to the claims in Stellenbosch. He asked whether the land in
Ms Jansen said that where persons were not given claim numbers it could still be provided to them if their claims were validated. The claims in Stellenbosch were about land that was to be released. In
Mr Mckenzie stated that Ms Jansen had not mentioned Klawer.
Ms Jansen apologised for not mentioning Klawer. The claim in Klawer was a community claim and claimants had chosen the financial compensation option. There were delays initially but the budget had been made available and payments had been made.
Mr Brian Daniels interjected and felt that he had been left out of proceedings. No mention had been made of his claim in Ocean View.
Ms Jansen said that she had received a letter from his wife about the claim. She had responded to the claim and had sent it to his address in Strandfontein and not to Ocean View.
Mr Henry asked why after 1994 when land claims were made, were developments on claimed land not stopped.
A representative from the Commission on the Restitution of Land Rights explained that when a claim was lodged it had to be investigated. If the claim was found to be valid it would be published in the Government Gazette. In most instances land was developed before the claim was published in the Government Gazette. It was illegal to develop land after the claim had been gazetted.
Mr Sizani said that there was no need to panic about the correctness of facts. The information provided to the Committee would be verified.
Mr Japhta was upset about the recurring problem of documents being lost at the Commission on the Restitution of Land Rights Offices. He called for an investigation as the possibility of corruption existed. Could the Hawks not be called in to investigate?
Mr Sizani pointed out that the priority presently was to solve claims. The Hawks would take action against perpetrators of crime but would not resolve claims.
Ms Dodgen still questioned the process of obtaining state land to settle people’s claims. What was equitable redress?
Mr Mckenzie asked how the process was going to be taken forward aside from the petition. How was the Commission going to be held accountable?
Mr Sizani said that the Committee would assist wherever it could. Parliament would make recommendations to address issues raised. The Speaker of the House would forward the recommendations to the Minister.
The Committee agreed to compile a report on the matter. The Draft Committee Report would be forwarded to all stakeholders. Once the report was finalised it would be sent to the House.
The meeting was adjourned.
- We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting
Download as PDF
You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.
See detailed instructions for your browser here.