South Africa: Land Claimants Want Market Rate

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As the public consultation process on the Land Restitution Bill continues around the country, some residents and land claimants have insisted on equity between claimants and market rate compensation.

While some claimants have acknowledged that it is not always possible to get the same piece of land they were dispossessed of as a result of the 1913 Natives' Land Act, several communities members in Kirkwood and the surroundings outside Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape are united: they want equity and market rate compensation on land claims.

This follows concern raised by one of the previous claimants Mr Koos Adams of Graaf-Reinet during the public hearings on Monday that the compensation that he received from his claim is far less compared to the price the government paid to secure the land.

"I received just less than R 90,000 on my claim but is shocking to hear that the government is able to pay more a R1 million to buy the same size of land that we claimed for. So, we say if they are able to fork out such huge amount of money, why they can't pay us the same money as compensation because this continues to enrich the same people," Mr Adams said.

Parliamentarians have urged the claimants to desist from settling on the price they did not agree with for the sake of getting cash because once the case is closed, it will not be easy to reopen it. The Committee urged that those with legitimate claims to prepare the required proof and documentation for the time when the second phase is announced and also warned against opportunists who lodged non-existent claims.

The Bill has been hailed as the legislative and as the long-awaited solution to address historical imbalances. Ms Ntshikelelo Hendriks of Nciya described the issue of land claims as an emotional issue, which has been postponed from government to the other. The hearings continue in other parts of Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal until Friday.

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