Centurion land claim nearly final
A multimillion-rand land claim covering prime properties in Centurion, Pretoria, is close to reaching its finality but white minority lobby group AfriForum is ready to fight it.
The claim - lodged 20 years ago - covers more than 30 portions of land, in areas such as Olievenhoutbosch, Rooihuiskraal, The Reeds and Hueweloord.
According to the the department of rural development & land reform, the claim is now in its final stages after a public participation process was completed last month.
Department spokesperson Phuthi Mabelebele said the land claim was still under further investigation which forms part of the last phase.
Mabelebele said the claim in question was "complex [due to] the large number of land parcels" it affected in the area.
"The commission on restitution of land rights is currently sourcing information on the analysis of historical aerial photographs from [the] surveyor general... updating information on affected properties, considering the representations received from affected parties, with a view to produce the final research report," she said.
Mabelebele said this would "take two or more months".
She said even though claimant Zulu Kleinboy Mahlangu and other families "were claiming approximately 300 hectares of land but the properties affected by this land claim extend beyond 3,440 hectares".
Mahlangu's family and others were dispossessed of the land in the 1960s.
"We are unable to furnish the properties affected currently since we are updating the erven information as part of further investigations," Mabelebele said.
The claim has, however, already found to be credible after a preliminary investigation report approved it.
"The report is approved by the regional land claims commissioner for the claim to be gazetted as prima facie valid and further investigations to be conducted on the claim," Mabelebele said.
She said other objections were from the SA Mint and other individual residents of the area and affected parties.
The claim has, however, been met with strong opposition from Afrikaner rights group AfriForum.
The forum's head of community safety Ian Cameron said: "AfriForum also has a thirteen-point plan ready to fight the land claim and will launch various actions to support the community.
"These include obtaining legal aid to fight the land claim. AfriForum has already requested the applicable commission for extension for submitting objections against the claim."
He said AfriForum had also requested more information on the claim from the commission.
"Financial compensation for the claimants is still on the cards, and the scope thereof has not yet been availed by the department," Cameron said.
Rural development and land reform minister Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said property owners should not panic as the department was looking for a "just and equitable option to settle the land claim".