Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development warns of land claim fast tracking scam in Eastern Cape

26 Mar 2020

Chief Land Claims Commissioner warns of land claim fast tracking scam in the Eastern Cape

“Ruthless scammers are swindling the vulnerable land claimants in the Eastern Cape out of their hard earned money whilst purporting to help finalise their claims!”

This is according to Chief Land Claims Commissioner Nomfundo Ntloko-Gobodo, who strongly advised that government programmes do not require citizens to pay any money for services.

Ntloko-Gobodo was reacting to information received from the Office of the Regional Land Claims Commissioner Eastern Cape about land claimants from areas including Sterkspruit, Mount Ayliff, Mbizana, Flagstaff and Idutwa, who have been duped by scammers into paying thousands of Rands for assistance with, or fast tracking of land claims.

She says that claimants should be wary of persons who offer what is ordinarily free government services in exchange for payment.

"As the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights (CRLR) we want to advise communities to first get into contact with the local land claims office for advice, guidance or information on the status of claims before deciding to embark on a parallel process that require them to pay money. Government is the custodian of the land restitution programme, and the CRLR has the mandate on behalf of government to investigate, and processes restitution claims in terms of the Restitution of Land Rights Act (Act 22 of 1994). We are best placed to assess the need for external assistance and can determine if such assistance, even from attorneys is warranted and in good faith, “says Ntloko-Gobodo.

On 11 March 2020 officials from the Office of the Regional Land Claims Commissioner Eastern Cape, met with members of the South African Police Services and land claimants in Mount Ayliff, after it emerged that the scam had infiltrated the area. Claimants were advised to first get into contact with the local land claims office for advice, guidance or information on the status of claims before deciding to embark on a parallel process that require them to pay money.   

With a 21-day nation-wide lockdown looming, Ntloko-Gobodo fears that perpetrators of the scam will capitalise on this period to access more communities and to persuade them to part with their hard earned money.

“Land claimants who wants to seek advice on the need for external assistance can contact the Office of the Regional Land Claims Commissioner Eastern Cape on 043 700 6000 even during the lockdown period for clarity, “says Ntloko-Gobodo.

“I have tasked officials from the Office of the Regional Land Claims Commissioner Eastern Cape to embark on a concerted effort to raise awareness about this scam and its permutations among communities in the province, and to intensify district-based stakeholder engagements, which is currently the primary platform used to provide land claim status updates to communities, “concluded Ntloko-Gobodo.

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