Question NW814 to the President of the Republic

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30 April 2024 - NW814

Profile picture: Herron, Mr BN

Herron, Mr BN to ask the President of the Republic

(1)Whether he has considered the applications that were formally submitted to him by a certain organisation (name furnished) under the State Land Disposal Act, Act 48 of 1961, on 23 September 2023, on behalf of (a) communities living on an unsuitable wetland in Khayelitsha and (b) a community in Gugulethu; if not, by what date does he envisage the process of considering the applications will be completed; if so, what are the relevant details in each case; 2) how (a) does the Government intend to use its proposed serviced sites programme to promote equitable land distribution in well-located areas to enhance socio-economic development for communities in need and (b) will the administration ensure the rapid release of land which is necessary for serviced sites; (3) what steps is the Government taking to ensure (a) compliance with the Government Immovable Asset Management Act, Act 19 of 2007, in the disposal of state land, (b) that land is not disposed of where it can be used for affordable housing and in particular to enable community development and empowerment and (c) that the principles of the specified Act are upheld in the disposal of state land, particularly in relation to community development and empowerment; (4) (a) what progress has been made in implementing the proposed framework law aimed at land reform, which was one of the recommendations in the report of the High Level Panel on the Assessment of Key Legislation and the Acceleration of Fundamental Change and (b) who is responsible for preparing the specified legislation?


(1) The Presidency is not in receipt of the applications for land, referred to by the Honourable Member, that were ‘formally submitted’ to the President on 23 September 2023.

However, the Presidency did receive a memorandum in August 2023. On the basis of this memorandum, I have requested the Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure and the Minister of Human Settlements to constitute a joint team to engage with the organisation in question.

(2) (a) The Department of Human Settlements’ programme of delivery of serviced sites aims to accommodate households, mainly residing in the informal settlements, whose income levels would enable them to gradually build on their own once they have access to land. The programme prioritises access to housing in well-located areas that are close to economic opportunities, social amenities and transport infrastructure.

A total of 186,750 serviced sites were delivered between 2019 and March 2024.

The serviced sites programme aims in the longer term to mitigate current challenges relating to unauthorised occupation of land, often accompanied with the mushrooming of informal settlements in the country.

(b) The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) releases state land identified as suitable for human settlement development to the Housing Development Agency (HDA). This is done through the issuing of Power of Attorney to the HDA, for commencement of township development processes and ultimate transfer to the beneficiaries.

(3) (a) In terms of the Government Immovable Asset Management Act, the DPWI consults with the affected user departments and stakeholders before any disposal is considered to confirm if they need the identified properties for their respective government functions. If the identified properties are still required for government purposes, the applicant is informed accordingly.

(b) The DPWI releases state land to support land redistribution, land restitution, human settlement development and for other socio-economic purposes. This includes availing suitable state land for the building of affordable houses for the benefit of the qualifying, historically disadvantaged and poor communities.

(b) State land disposals are subjected to due diligence, including feasibility studies, valuations, town planning, etc., to ensure that the best disposal option is undertaken to achieve socio-economic objectives.

(4) The proposal for a framework bill on land reform was aimed at operationalising equitable access to land, establishing guiding principles on redistribution, restitution and land tenure as well as land administration. The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) is dealing with these issues in the following manner:

  • Land Redistribution: The Department has drafted the Land Acquisition and Redistribution Bill, which is currently undergoing consultations internally and with targeted stakeholders before the Bill is submitted to Cabinet to approve its publication for public comment.
  • Land Restitution: There is already the Restitution of Land Rights Act, 1994 which was passed and is being implemented.
  • Land Tenure: The DALRRD has drafted the Communal Land Bill, which specifically provides for secure land tenure as contemplated in section 25(6) of the Constitution. The draft Bill is currently undergoing consultations with targeted stakeholders before it is approved by Cabinet for publication for public comment.
  • Land Administration: The Restitution of Land Rights Act and the two Bills referred to above provide for land administration in different but appropriate forms as dictated to by the context of each piece of legislation.

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