South Africa: Govt Releases Hundreds of Parcels of Land for Human Settlement Development

23 February 2020

The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) has released hundreds of parcels of land as part of the government's commitment to land reform, redistribution and restitution.

According to Public Works Minister Patricia de Lille, in October, last year, the Cabinet approved the release of 167 portions of land which the DPWI held, measuring 14 105 hectares.

A further 684 hectares for human settlement development have since been approved for release.

"Land transferred by [the] DPWI must be used for human settlements and not for resale to the private sector," De Lille said in a statement on Sunday.

The land has been released in several provinces, including the Northern Cape, where four state-owned properties were released to the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development to settle a redistribution claim the Doraan family lodged in 1998.

In Tshwane, the City said it would be able to build 4 000 houses on the land released to it, which is located near the city centre.

"The development will benefit the communities of Phomolong, Itereleng and the Hills informal settlements and will significantly address the housing demand," De Lille said.

State-owned properties in Humansdorp in the Eastern Cape will "settle the restitution claim by the direct descendants of the Tsitsikamma Development Trust/AmaMfengu community. The AmaMfengu community that settled in the Tsitsikamma area during the Anglo-Xhosa 'frontier wars' of 1833 - 1834.

"The AmaMfengu community [was] dispossessed of [the] land and forcibly removed from the claimed properties in October 1927. Their removal was done in terms of the Black Administration Act of 1972."

In the North West, land was released for a redistribution claim made in 1998 by the Madibamantsho Community. The land is more than 1 120 hectares large and is valued at R4.4m.

Land has also been released to the Cape Peninsula University of Technology which will, in turn, release it for the redevelopment of District Six.

"Returning land to dispossessed families is one of the fundamental actions we can make to reverse the legacy of apartheid where people of colour were stripped of their dignity, their land [and] the right to own land and homes," De Lille said.

"Equally important... is land distribution to develop integrated human settlements for those in need who have been on housing waiting lists for many years. Our country's history has made our democracy and restoring people's dignity through giving them a home, a cumbersome process but it is a task that must be expedited," she added.

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