Should the 1913 cut off-date for land claims be changed to the 1800s?
In support of black empowerment, South Africa reopened its land claim process in June 2014 after closing it at the end of 1998, giving land claimants another five years to lodge claims.
Any person or community dispossessed of land rights after 19 June 1913 as a result of racially discriminatory practices are able to lodge a claim to restore such a right or receive compensation by 30 June 2019.
President Jacob Zuma raised the prospect of shifting the goal posts today in terms of land claims, re-opening the debate on whether the cut-off date for claims should be 1913 when legislation paving the way for black people to be dispossessed of their land was passed.
Zuma noted, “I believe in percentage wise, the land taken after 1913 is very small, very insignificant than the land that was taken…particularly in 18-something – that’s when the biggest chunk of land was taken.”
Zuma said currently the land claims process was skewed against South Africas black populace. It is very easy for a land owner to say you don’t own the land.
“I believe, as a son of a black man, being black, being on my own as always, that you need to shift that cut-off date, but you need to find a reasonable way of addressing the issue, within the Consitution, within the law…,”
He quoted former ANC secretary general Sol Plaatje, who wrote that when the Land Act came into force, black men went to sleep owning land, and woke up being worse off than slaves. Souh Africa reopened its land claims process in 2014.
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