land reform
(Alani Janeke)
  • The department of public works is ready to transfer 100 pieces of state-owned land to land claim recipients, its minister told Parliament, plus 20 pieces earmarked to build homes.
  • But public works can't transfer that land until it gets some outstanding paperwork from other government departments.
  • It is still waiting on agreements with land claimants, and development plans for new housing.
  • For more, visit Business Insider.

The department of public works is ready to transfer state-owned land to land-claim recipients, minister of public works and infrastructure Patricia de Lille told Parliament – as soon as some outstanding paperwork is sorted out.

In a reply to a question from Annette Steyn, the DA’s shadow minister for agriculture, land reform and rural development first reported by Landbou, De Lille said 100 parcels of land controlled by her department had been " identified for restitution purposes" by the department of agriculture, land reform and rural development".

"These will be processed once all supporting documents" had been received from the agriculture department, De Lille said.

These include agreements between the government and land claimants under a section of law that allows for a choice between a cash settlement or land being returned.

More than 20 other land parcels under government control have been identified "to be released for human settlements purposes", said De Lille – "once the high level development plans have been received from the department of human settlements."

Another 30 land parcels are due to be "released as commercial disposals", she said, mainly from state-owned enterprises (SOEs). She did not specify any paperwork requirements before those sales can go ahead.

De Lille did not say how much state land was up for sale or transfer in total, nor where it is located.

Her department indicated earlier that it wants to transfer the 100 pieces of land by the end of March 2020, Landbou reported.

The state is estimated to be in control of unused land covering 1.2 million hectares, which can be transferred without displacing existing owners or requiring a change in the Constitution to more specifically allow for expropriation without compensation.

That is not counting another 1.7 million hectares of state-owned land that is classified as not in use, but which is considered too barren or too far from services to be useful. 

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