The Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform has welcomed the launch of mobile lodgement offices which were unveiled by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform on 14 April 2015 in Parliament.
The Committee said this would help redress the legacy of the notorious native Land Act of 1913 and reaffirm that the enactment of the restitution of Land Rights Act of 1994, which is aimed at compensating those who were forcefully removed and dispossessed of their land after 1913.
The Committee is aware that many people submitted their land claims in the first phase of the restitution process which was closed on the 31 December 1998. The Committee acknowledges that more people were left out of the restitution process due to lack of information of the restitution programme and long distances they were expected to travel to lodge their land claims in the lodgement offices which were mostly situated in towns.
Committee Chairperson, Ms Phumuzile Ngwenya-Mabila, said: “The Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Act which was signed by the President into law on 30 June 2014 led to the re-opening of the lodgement process for the period of five years until 30 June 2019.” She added: “Therefore as the Committee we commend the progress made by the department and the commission to make sure that people’s needs and concerns are addressed.”
Committee is also happy to learn that the department will embark on educational awareness programmes to all the provinces to inform the public about how to go about lodging claims and what is needed to lodge the claim. To achieve this, buses will be used and they will be followed by mobile lodgement offices which will be receiving land claim applications from people.
The Committee would like to request rural communities to take part in the restitution educational programme that will be conducted. “The lodgement process is very serious to ensure that those who qualify submit their claims on time to avoid long queues towards the closing date of 30 June 2019.”
The Committee will monitor the services of buses and mobile lodgement offices to ensure maximum benefit to rural people. The Committee implores officials of the department assigned to these areas to adhere to the principles of Batho Pele when executing their duties.
ISSUED BY PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON, MS PHUMUZILE NGWENYA-MABILA
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Source : Parliament of South Africa