No one will be left out of land claims process, says Zuma

President Jacob Zuma has called on traditional leaders on Thursday to use their resources and help their communities in the new process of land claims to ensure that no claimants are left out of the process.

Zuma was talking about the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill, which was passed by the National Assembly this week and will reopen the land restitution process. It also set a new deadline for land claims to December 31 2018. The previous deadline was December 31 1998.

Zuma, who was speaking at the opening of the National House of Traditional Leaders in Parliament, deviated from his prepared speech, saying history was made with the passing of land restitution legislation this week and that many who were excluded by the previous cut-off date now stood a chance of regaining their land.

"The critical problem that we found was that the process of taking the land from indigenous people took centuries, it took different forms and finally ended with the huge majority of the indigenous people with no land.

"It took wars, it took laws, many things," he said.


"But when we were supposed to address this matter, we were only given a few years to deal with it. We felt it was unfair and indeed it excluded many other people."

Biased
He said the laws governing land reform and restitution were biased in favour of land owners.

Zuma said he was hoping that during this period, "we will do one thing, look at the act [properly]".

He said land claimants had to go into minute details to prove that the land was theirs, but those who own the land had to do very little to stop a claim.

"It needs to be looked at by the lawyers. I think those who are claiming should find good lawyers to help address this matter.

"I'm saying this because all traditional leaders from all provinces are here. This is not a small matter, it's a matter that in my view you could put together your resources to look at this law, to look at the claims on behalf of your people," said Zuma.

This will be done so that no one is left outside. "It's an important thing," he added.

Zuma said the law shouldn't be "very difficult" for land claimants and easy for "those who say I bought this land".

"We have been at a disadvantage all the time. I think if we work together, perhaps led by this traditional house [and] put together a team of good lawyers to go through this process one again with a fine-toothed comb," said Zuma.

Traditional leaders will debate Zuma's speech on March 12.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

Advertising

Subscribers only

Q&A Sessions: George Euvrard, the brains behind our cryptic crossword

George Euvrard spoke to Athandiwe Saba about his passion for education, clues on how to solve his crosswords and the importance of celebrating South Africa.

Poachers in prisons tell their stories

Interviews with offenders provide insight into the structure of illegal wildlife trade networks

More top stories

Racial bias against black medical practitioners ‘reflects fissures of an...

The testimonials of black doctors have given credence to allegations of racial profiling. Of those listed on a Gems blacklist, 94% of general practitioners were black

Why great white sharks are disappearing from South Africa’s coastline

Government panel blames killer whales for the depleted population of great white sharks, but experts say overfishing is the big culprit that is not being addressed

R100-billion needed to staunch KZN’s water woes

Municipalities have failed to maintain their existing infrastructure for providing residents with water

Niehaus has 48 hours to state why he should not...

The MKMVA spokesperson has been asked to give reasons why he should not be fired from his position at Luthuli House after attacking Jesse Duarte last week
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…