In 1994 the democratic Government of South Africa identified the need for land and agrarian reform as part of nation building and reconciliation. As part of land reform; the Restitution programme was introduced to provide redress to persons and communities dispossessed of their land rights by the apartheid Government.
In 1995, victims of forced removals were afforded an opportunity to lodge land claims against the state. The initial deadline for lodgement of land claims was set for 31 December 1998. Approximately 80 000 land claims were lodged by this cut-off date.
The dispossession of the land rights of the majority of black people in South Africa remains a dark spot in the history of our country. Through the 1913 Natives’ Land Act and other racially discriminatory laws and practices, a large number of individuals and communities were dispossessed of their land rights after 1913.
Re-opening of the lodgement of land claims process:
The process for the lodgement of land claims was re-opened with effect from 1 July 2014 for a further period of five years, until 30 June 2019. All individuals and communities who were dispossessed of their right to land as a result of racially discriminatory laws and practices after June 1913, and who missed the initial cut-off date of 31 December 1998, now have an opportunity to lodge their land claims until 30 June 2019.
Since the re-opening of the lodgement process, more than 55 000 land claims had been lodged with the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights across the country since by 15 April 2015. So far the highest number of claims received are from the Gauteng province.
The claims received are as follows:
- Mpumalanga (4072)
- Gauteng (11719)
- Northern Cape (1213)
- Free State (7869)
- Eastern Cape (7253)
- Limpopo (6356)
- Western Cape (7811)
- KZN (7533)
- North West (1260)
Launching of the mobile offices:
To ensure that a maximum number of potential claimant communities are reached, the Government is today rolling out mobile lodgement offices to travel around the country to receive claims, in addition to the 14 Lodgement offices situated in all nine provinces.
The mobile offices are specially equipped vehicles fitted with technology to process applications for land claims on site. A total of four busses and two all-terrain 4 x 4 trucks will be deployed to the identified communities over the next four year period ending on 30 June 2019.
The mobile office allocated to the Free State, Northern Cape and Western Cape provinces (the Gemsbok) was the first mobile office to be deployed in the Qwaqwa area from 28 April, where it will receive claims from all qualifying people in the area for a period of three weeks, before proceeding to other rural areas in the Free State province, until June 2015. Coming from the Free State Province, the mobile office will move to the Western Cape province in July, before proceeding to the Northern Cape in middle of October 2015.
The mobile office allocated to the North West and Gauteng provinces (Maruping) will start receiving claims in May 2015 in the Gauteng Province, before proceeding to the North West Province in August 2015.
The mobile office for the Eastern Cape and KZN provinces (Inkanyezi) will start receiving claims in the Eastern Cape province in May before proceeding to KZN in August 2015.
The mobile office allocated to the Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces (Mabulandila-Vulindlela) will start to receive claims in the Mpumalanga province in June before proceeding to the Limpopo province in August 2015.
The lodgement of land claims process is a free government service:
Lodging a land claim is a free government service. You do not pay money to lodge a land claim. Claim forms will not be distributed to the public. Restitution officials will assist members of the public to complete claim forms electronically at the official lodgement office.
Information on how to lodge a land claim:
Information about the nine lodgement offices is available on the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform website: www.drdlr.gov.za. The schedules for the mobile offices will also be available on the website. Information on the lodgment sites can also be obtained from the Department’s toll free number: 0800 007 095.
Copies of a Citizens’ manual on how to lodge a land claim are available in all the official languages, on the website. These will also be distributed to communities in the different Districts.
In addition to the mobile lodgement offices, the Commission has also acquired nine mobile Communication units that will visit communities to distribute copies of the Citizens’ manual and information about the visits of the mobile lodgement offices.
Claims lodged before 1998:
- A total number of 60 319 claims lodged before 1998 have been finalised.
- The Commission on Restitution of Land Rights has to-date awarded a total amount of R30.8bn for the restitution program.
- Across the country, a total of 379 997 households have benefitted from the restitution process. In the Free State province 7626 households.
Government Speeches and statements:
- Commission on Restitution of Land Rights on land claims mobile offices, 25 April 2016
- Commission on Restitution of Land Rights launches District Based Stakeholder Engagement sessions, 13 Apr, 12 April 2016
- Minister Mcebisi Skwatsha: Handing over of Financial Compensation for Verulam Methodist Mission land claimants, 8 April 2016
- Minister Gugile Nkwinti hands over million of rands and title deeds to land claimants, 5 Mar, 1 March 2016
- Deputy Minister Candith Mashego-Dlamini: Signing of settlement agreement ceremony for Mkhuzane and Nodunga communities, 23 July 2015
- KwaZulu-Natal and Rural Development signs settlement agreement for Nodunga and Mkhuze land claims, 23 July 2015
- MEC Cyril Xaba on handover of tenant land claimants from Roosboom community, 11 July 2015
- MEC Cyril Xaba: Hand over of financial compensation vouchers to Roosboom land claimants, 11 July 2015