Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill: Taung North West public hearings

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Rural Development and Land Reform

The Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform issued a media statement after the public hearing:

The majority of participants from North West province who participated in public hearings in Taung hosted by a delegation of the Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform expressed their support for the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill.

Among other things, the amendments seek to provide for the re-opening of the second phase of land claims under the restitution programme.

“The majority of responses we received are in the affirmative of the amendments. We are greatly appreciative of the quality and depth of discussions in the province and are looking forward to qualitative discussions in other provinces, as we consult as widely as possible,” said Ms N Magadla, (ANC) Committee Delegation Leader.

Research capacity within the Commission for Restitution of Land Rights was one issue highlighted during the hearings. While the capacity challenges within the commission must be urgently addressed, the Committee is unconvinced that this should be the sole reason not to pass the amendments. Enhancing this capacity will ensure that the commission moves with speed to settle the over 7 000 remaining claims from the initial phase.

Another point raised during hearings was the need to establish constituency offices, especially in rural areas to enable people to lodge their claims. “Constituency offices coupled with educational programmes on the lodgement of claims are areas that must be strongly considered by the department if the amendments are adopted,” Ms Magadla said.

The committee also appreciates views that do not support the Bill, along with proposals to strengthen the amendments. After extensive consultations, the committee will consolidate all the views and reach a definitive resolution and a strengthened Bill.

The committee will today continue with hearings in Klerksdorp, in North West. The committee will then continue to Gauteng, the Eastern Cape and Western Cape as it upholds the Constitutional Court ruling for extensive public participation around the Bill.