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Transfer of Communal Land Under the Spotlight

May 12, 2021

The Presidency

Consultations with the National House of Traditional Leaders, Contralesa and the National Khoisan Council are ongoing with regard to transferring communal land to persons or communities whose tenure of land is not legally secured.

The presidency announced this in a statement following a meeting of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Land Reform.

According to the presidency, the meeting noted consultations by government with various stakeholders of the Land Administration and Tenure Reform intended to initiate a process of transferring communal land.

The meeting also received a report on the status of land that is under the jurisdiction of State Owned Enterprises including plans for the usage of the land for spatial integration; was updated on progress in the implementation of the National Spatial Development Framework in guiding land redistribution and development towards spatial transformation, consolidation and integration and was appraised on the ongoing consultations with regard to the amendment of Section 25 of the Constitution.

Meanwhile, in a statement, the Ad Hoc Committee to Initiate and Introduce Legislation Amending Section 25 of the Constitution has noted with concern a letter of complaint about the integrity and conduct of the committee.

Drawn up by the Democratic Alliance (DA) Members of the committee, the letter refers to virtual public hearings held in March.

Dr Mathole Motshekga, the committee Chairperson, agreed to the “request for Members to be provided with a recording of the meeting in order to remind themselves of the proceedings”.

During the meeting at the end of last week, the committee also received a briefing from Parliament Legal Services regarding the input made by various government departments during the oral submissions process.

Input was provided on the role of the executive versus the courts, including a definition for land reform, circumstances for nil compensation to be contained in national legislation, placement of the amendment and the wording of the bill limits expropriation for nil compensation to land and improvements thereon being expropriated for land reform.

Legal Services pointed out that the inclusion of all property is a policy decision and that if the “Committee decides to use the broad wording so that the compensation for expropriation may be nil in respect of any property and for any reason, provided it is done in the public interest, that amendment will have to be advertised”.

It also might be required to seek permission from the national assembly as this would extend the mandate on land reform.