Questions over land reform timing

Feb 20 2013 16:55

Cape Town - The government's announcement that land claims from before 1913 will be re-opened has created great uncertainty and huge expectations, Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Mulder said on Wednesday.

Speaking during the second day of debate in the National Assembly on last week's State of the Nation address, he questioned why such an announcement had been made "before all the details had been thought through".

Mulder, who also serves as deputy agriculture minister in President Jacob Zuma's Cabinet, said uncertainty about land reform had persisted for 19 years.

"Commercial farmers did not want to expand and to create new employment opportunities, because they were unsure whether they would keep their land."

People who had instituted land claims were also unsure whether the claims would succeed.

"I had hoped that we were now at a point where there could be certainty. [Land Reform] Minister [Gugile] Nkwinti’s announcement that land claims before 1913 would be re-opened again brings great uncertainty on the one hand, and huge expectations on the other hand.

"Only the full details, which are now not being stated, could remove uncertainty and false expectations."

Mulder said Khoi and San descendants wanted to know whether they could reclaim land back to 1200, when they were present across the whole of South Africa.

"There are San drawings in the Drakensberg, in Zululand at Nkandla, and where Cape Town stands today. Can they claim all this?"

Nkwinti has said that the government is considering amending the Restitution of Land Rights Act to allow the descendants of the Khoi and San to claim land beyond the 1913 cut-off date for restitution.

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