Alfred Moselakgomo

Alfred Moselakgomo

The Land Claims Commission has a total of 4949 outstanding claims, of which 829 are in Mpumalanga and Limpopo.

According to the commission the high incidence of community disputes in the Limpopo regional office, particularly in the Sekhukhune district municipality area, was affecting the finalisation of claims in the province.

"We are currently busy with the process to fill in the vacant positions for regional land claims commissioners for the Limpopo and Mpumalanga offices," said commission acting chief Blessing Mphela.

Mphela said outstanding cases were mostly claims involving vast tracts of land in the rural areas affecting large communities.

"The outstanding claims are difficult to settle due to a number of challenges that include exorbitant land prices, disputes regarding the validity of some of the claims, family and community disputes, boundary disputes involving traditional leaders, as well as cases that have been referred to the land claims court.

"A perception exists that land reform in South Africa is failing because projects that have been handed over to beneficiaries are dying.

"We contest the notion that projects are failing, and this is because we have in most instances not started with the implementation of the business plans.

"We do agree that there are projects where beneficiaries are learning their lessons as a result of the implementation challenges with regard to the upstream and downstream activities," he said.

Mphela said the commission would not, in the main, be accountable for the attainment of the 30percent target for land ownership by black people by 2014 as this was the responsibility of the Department of Land Affairs.