SA land restitution a success, says govt official

South Africa’s land restitution is a big success story, acting director general of land affairs Tozi Gwanya said on Wednesday.

Five thousand claims out of the 79 696 lodged still needed to be settled, of which about a third would not be concluded before next year’s deadline for completion, Gwanya said at a media briefing of directors general in government’s social cluster.

He said the 1 500 claims that would remain were “residual” and included those claims at the Land Claims Court and those where there were conflicts among traditional leaders.

“You cannot tell the judge that he must settle these claims tomorrow,” he said, referring to the claims before the court, most of which were contested on a validity basis.

The claims where traditional leaders were fighting over their rights to the land would be solved by the Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims.

This process, Gwanya said, might take even longer than the “two to three” years the Land Claims Court would take to finalise the cases before it.

However, he said the restitution process could be considered a big success.

“As a country, if we are left with 1% or 2%, that would be a big success story,” Gwanya said.—Sapa

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