ANC MPs push for new land claims

The ANC’s parliamentary caucus will once again push for the re-opening of the lodging of land claims window, despite a backlog in processing old claims.

This after a similar move suffered a blow at the Constitutional Court in July last year. The court ruled in favour of the Land Access Movement of South Africa (Lamosa), which argued the state should not be allowed to invite new claims before settling all 80000 claims brought in and before 1998.

ANC MP Pumzile Mnguni has now brought up a private member’s notice of the party’s intention to introduce the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill.

In the notice, Mnguni said the bill would be brought to parliament during the second quarter of 2017. It will propose reopening the claims window from this year to June 30 2021.

To avoid falling foul of the Constitutional Court’s ruling, parliament will this time hold enough public hearings before passing the bill, Mnguni told Sowetan.

“We’ll do public hearings right across the country. This time around they will be full scale,” he said. “The court said ‘no parliament, you robbed hearings’. Clearly, parliament will want to prove that it’s sorry to the court.”

But to avoid clashes with the Constitutional Court, the bill will propose that new claims should be processed after settlement of old ones.

But Lamosa chairman Mangwedi Maredi said this would complicate things even further.

“It doesn’t make sense. There will be counter claims, I can tell you. You’ll find someone claiming a farm that’s already been claimed but yet to be processed.

There’s going to be confusion. [Had] the government finished the old claims, then we can allow [it] to continue with new claims.”

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