Outstanding claims list still not finalised

The Commission on Restitution of Land Rights failed to carry out an agreement it had with Agri SA to provide a list of all outstanding land claims.

- Advertisement -

According to Agri SA, the chief land claims commissioner Blessing Mphela undertook to make this list available more than a year ago, but at a recent meeting between the two parties he informed them that the document was still not finalised. Agri SA deputy president Dr Theo de Jager said Mphela indicated to them that such a list does exist, but that they don’t want to make it public before all research on the validity of the claims is concluded.

Many landowners and farmers in particular still have no idea whether there is a claim on their land or not, said Dr de Jager. “Farmers and other investors have become hesitant to invest in the sector because of this uncertainty. “Farm sales and prices are also suffering because prospective buyers don’t want to buy land if they are uncertain about whether or not there is an existing claim on a farm,” said Dr De Jager.

“The land reform department and the commission have not been able to meet any of their deadlines. That is why it should come as no surprise that critical research to determine the validity of claims has not been completed yet,” stated Dr De Jager.

- Advertisement -

“This list should have been compiled years ago after the deadline for claims. Then the department could have used this list to handle restitution claims. But we suspect that the list is being kept hidden from the public so that more claims can be slipped in later,” he said.

Dr De Jager said Agri SA has come to presume that the government plans to do away with restitution because the system has failed the state, beneficiaries and commercial agriculture.

“We suspect government plans to implement a land redistribution policy rather than a restitution plan as a solution to land reform,” Dr De Jager concluded.