Land body settles over 500 claims

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

The Land Claims Commission showed once again yesterday that it struggles to meet its own schedules.

Angry journalists, who were kept waiting for more than an hour for a media conference by agriculture and environmental affairs MEC Mtholephi Mthimkhulu and acting chief land claims commissioner Blessing Mphela, ended up boycotting the event.

The two had summoned journalists to brief them on land restitution in KwaZulu-Natal and on land reform in general.

Mthimkhulu's office said the commission had settled more than 500 rural land claims in the province between 1999 and last month.

"The goal and objective to redistribute 30percent of agricultural land by 2014 has shaped land reform strategies," the commission said.

It has settled 507 rural claims by restoring 665258 hectares to nearly 49000 households throughout the province. Another 9000 claimants received financial compensation.

Mangaliso Kubheka, national organiser for the Landless People's Movement, said the commission could have done much more.

"They had promised to settle 30percent of the claims in five years, but this was not the case."