18 February 2000

South Africa: Title to land in tribal areas to go to communities

Cape Town — The long-awaited legislation granting legal title to land in tribal areas will focus on giving legal title to tribes and communities rather than freehold title to individuals.

The legislation would reach Parliament in August, Agriculture and Land Affairs Minister Thoko Didiza said yesterday.

Didiza said that when she took office in June, there was uncertainty about whether the legislation as it was then drafted was the correct instrument for land rights reform in tribal areas.

She said the bill, which would be published soon, would not differ greatly. The emphasis had however changed from the individual to tribe or community.

She said the challenge had always been how to resolve the issue of giving title to tribes or to individuals. "Consultation will resolve this matter and the legislation will try to infuse both positions," she said.

Didiza also announced the creation of an agricultural redistribution grant which would help redistribute 15% of agricultural land over the next five years. She said one of the aims of the integration of land reform and agriculture was to create black commercial farming class.

Part of the conflict in the department has been over the whether to support emerging black farmers or to promote a black commercial farming class.

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