Response to ‘Re-opening restitution: Election promises doomed to backfire’

I have received a number of interesting comments via social media on the piece Re-opening restitution: Election promises doomed to backfire. The hearings are related to the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill, which was tabled in parliament in October. I would like to continue this conversation by responding to some of the comments here, and drawing out some of the issues they raised.

In a 500-word piece it’s very difficult to explain the nuances of each case, with its internal dynamics. One commentator explained the background to the Amaliestein Zoar case in the Western Cape and pointed out that the group’s claim was not compliant with the criteria for restitution. As a result the case was made for them to receive land through the redistribution programme. But the issue there is still not settled.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.customcontested.co.za/response-re-opening-restitution-election-promises-doomed-backfire/

Re-opening restitution: Election promises doomed to backfire

Parliament is currently holding provincial public hearings on the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill. The Bill, which re-opens the window to allow people to put in restitution claims until 2018, was tabled in October.

See a response to comments on this post here.

The Western Cape hearing in George was emblematic of the government’s broken promises to deliver land to restitution beneficiaries. People came to the hearing with expectations of receiving cash compensation for restitution claims they had lodged, according to James Richard-Jacob. He attended the hearing with his community-based group, Amaliestein Zoar. After it became clear that the hearing was not about compensation, people became angry. Richard-Jacob describes the hearing as a “circus”. His community feels they have been “left hanging” as they are still waiting for the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform to resolve their claim.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.customcontested.co.za/re-opening-restitution-election-promises-doomed-backfire/

Third round of hearings on the TCB fails to change minds

MEDIA RELEASE by the Alliance for Rural Democracy

November 22, 2013

The public hearings convened by the Portfolio Committee on Local Government and Traditional Affairs of the North West Legislature on Thursday 21 October 2013 resulted in another resounding rejection of the Traditional Courts Bill (TCB). The committee conducted hearings simultaneously in Zeerust, Wolmaransstad, Moretele and Ganyesa.

These hearings were held after the TCB had been sent back to the provinces in October 2013 for an unprecedented third round of public consultations by the National Council of Provinces’ Select Committee on Security and Constitutional Development. North West is the first province to hold further hearings. Most of the other provinces remain steadfast in their earlier rejection of the Bill.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.customcontested.co.za/third-round-hearings-tcb-fails-change-minds/

NCOP again ignores rural voices on Traditional Courts Bill: A case of “we’ll consult until we change your minds”?

MEDIA RELEASE by the Alliance for Rural Democracy

November 21, 2013

Provincial negotiating mandates tabled to the Select Committee on Security and Constitutional Development in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on October 15, 2013 showed overwhelming rejection of the Traditional Courts Bill (TCB) by the provinces. However, instead of following parliamentary procedure and debating the mandates – which would inevitably have led to the withdrawal of the Bill – the NCOP committee sent back the provincial mandates to be considered for the third time, purportedly “for clarity and removing ambiguities”. The committee did not deliberate on which aspects of the mandates needed further clarification. Stalling debate on provincial mandates has been a default response of this committee for almost two years now.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.customcontested.co.za/ncop-ignores-rural-voices-traditional-courts-bill-case-well-consult-change-minds/

Advocacy for women’s land rights: Plotting the way forward

The story of Dudu Xaba from KwaZulu Natal shows vividly how land rights and livelihoods are intertwined. Xaba’s late father left her a farm in his will but her half-brother claimed it, arguing only a male heir could inherit the plot. The brother and the local chief threatened her with violence if she persisted with her demand.

The land falls under the jurisdiction of a traditional authority (but is not owned by the traditional authority). As a result of colonial and apartheid law, land in this category is shrouded in uncertainty as to ownership, the “right” (if any) to allocate land, and current occupiers’ rights. Lack of clarity around communal land tenure means Xaba and other women in her position have no legal recourse in either customary or common law.

This lack of clarity is due to government’s failure to devise legislation that would realise the promise to security of land tenure enshrined in the Constitution. The protections that exist do not cover people living in communal areas. These areas – mostly the former Bantustans – are home to an estimated 16.5 million people, of whom 59 percent are women. Women’s land rights, already structurally vulnerable, have been made even more precarious in the context of the continued uncertainty around communal land tenure. Plotting the way forward in advocating for women’s land rights remains an urgent task.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.customcontested.co.za/advocacy-womens-land-rights-plotting-way-forward/

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