The land expropriation, land grab, and land reform are enormous problems currently for South Africa and, according to President Jacob Zuma, will become a top priority for government. The ruling African National Congress (ANC) party, under the leadership of Jacob Zuma, has stated that new acts in combination with the Constitution will be implemented. The land reform will be attended to urgently in a bid to end the unjust frustration of millions of people in South Africa.
The ANC and in particular, Zuma commented on the historical injustices toward the African people. The loss of dignity and the denial of land ownership remained a concern that needed to be resolved. Zuma and the ANC government have committed to addressing the land reform issues swiftly this year.
The land reform policy of the ANC is to ensure that state land be implemented for land restructuring. To guarantee victims of forced removals of land claims, restitution through a Land Claim Court.
According to the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), there was no primed system to keep track of land claims. Having no definite system at the moment does not help the claimants who lodged claims before the 1998 deadline to receive useful information regarding claims. It is estimated that over 8,000 claims were outstanding, and this figure was not guaranteed to be correct based on the continual changes of counting claims. Other problems such as loss of files and documents, and claims not gazetted are difficult to resolve. The added problem of manipulation by officials is underestimated due to the lack of controlling the system.
A proposal in the restitution of land rights amended bill to open the land claim process for another five years is likely to be stacked with problems for the Commission for the Restitution of Land Rights (CRLR). There appears to be an absence of operating procedures and a lack of electronic equipment for the department to capture new land claims.
There is towering confusion regarding the new land claim act and a statement by Zuma that the restitution law would be amended to allow people placed in a disposed position before 1913 to lodge a claim. MP Bantu Holomisa of the United Democratic Movement (UDM) asked that clarity on this matter be defined.
Massive land claims are to be lodged by the Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini, and traditional leaders. Tribal land in Kwa-Zulu-Natal, South Africa, is managed by The Ingonyama Trust on behalf of communities. Both the king and Trust are to lodge a claim spanning back to the 18th century. Although currently only land taken since 1913 could be claimed. The indication of this massive claim would incorporate land in KwaZulu-Natal, the Free State and Eastern Cape making this exceptionally the largest land claim in the country.
The Constitution of South Africa clearly states that no land claim dispossessed prior to 1913 would be allowed. In the event of the Zulu King and Trust lodging, a claim dating back to the 1800s this would be rejected unless the ANC government amends the Constitution of South Africa.
As the land claim procedure heats up, President Zuma’s nephew launched a claim that will affect over 60 farms in the Natal Midlands area of South Africa. Inkosi Simpiwe Zuma rejected the idea of any dispute around the land claim and said it would be an enormous claim.
The masses of the people have aspirations, hopes and dreams of a secure and profitable future, yet as the years roll by, these have been trampled upon by the party receiving praises. The benefactors are the higher echelons of government and the deployed cadres. Many are wondering if Zuma signed the extension of land claim bill for the noble causes of the people or for other reasons. Prevailing opinion is that one injustice does not correct another injustice.
According to Zuma, the tribal land will become communal land controlled by a chief who will have full dominion over the land. The massive land claims by the Zulu king and tribal leaders in South Africa will ensure that Zuma will inevitably stay in power and manipulate the masses into believing they are the rightful owners of the land. The new owned tribal land can be likened to a communist system with a commissar in charge.
Opinion by Laura Oneale