Tuesday, 26 November 2013 17:43

Willing buyer, willing seller still a sore point

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A land rights organisation has raised that the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill does not address some of the weaknesses and flaws contained in the principal act of 1994.

 Nkuzi Development AssociationIn its submissions on the bill, the Nkuzi Development Association argues that the bill does not call for the total scrapping of the contentious "willing buyer, willing seller" policy. The organisation, which assists farm-dwellers and land claimants to challenge evictions and lodge land claims in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Gauteng, says the bill does not set out the time-frames for negotiation with landowners.

The submission also argues that the bill does not ensure that farm-dwellers lodging claims on the land they live on cannot be evicted until the claim is finalised. It also says that the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights (CRLR) should have the right of first refusal in any transaction involving land under claim, and that it must establish local and district offices in all provinces.

"Furthermore, we note with concern some of the anti-people, anti-poor provisions in the bill. If the amendment is really intended to benefit the people who have been rendered landless by apartheid legislation and practices, then some of the provisions will have to be scrapped altogether and others modified."

In its submission, Nkuzi also raises concern about a clause that criminalises the lodgement of fraudulent claims, saying this will intimidate people from lodging restitution claims for fear that they may be prosecuted if their claim is dismissed for some reason. "We recommend that the CRLR must screen the claims and simply dismiss them if they are found to be either frivolous or vexatious."

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