Almost 17 000 land claims settled in EC

Almost 17 000 land claims settled in the Eastern Cape.
Almost 17 000 land claims settled in the Eastern Cape.
Image: File

Amid intense land debates and hearings, the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights has revealed that about 16 960 land claims have been settled in the Eastern Cape alone since 1994 and there are about 678 ongoing claims in the province.

Documents in the possession of the Daily Dispatch show that 583 claim projects have been settled in the province dating as far back as the 1990s and as recently as March this year.

Each of the 583 claim projects can contain multiple claims within it. An example of this would be the East Bank claim project, approved in 2002, in which 6 500 claims are said to have been settled. Another would be the nearby West Bank claim project, approved in 2000, in which 2 026 claims were said to be settled.

According to correspondence from the commission, there were two periods in which land claims could have been lodged.

In the first period, which closed on December 31 1998, 17 638 claims were lodged. In the second, which ran from July 2014 to July 2016, 13 524 claims were lodged. This brings the total number of claims lodged to 31 162.

These claims by no means represent a cheap process, with the land cost tipping the scales at R125-million and the financial compensation paid out totaling R3.77-billion.

All in all, about 127 699ha has traded hands in the restitution process. This makes up slightly less than 1% of the province’s land mass.

Of this most came from the state, whose 113 242.9ha makes up 88.68% of the land distributed to date.

The remaining 14 456ha was private land. According to the documents, this process has benefited 350 248 Eastern Cape citizens. This is roughly 5.3% of the province’s total population.

The claims are divided into different “land use” categories which include housing, farming, residential, forestry, conservation, hospitality, grazing and financial compensation. A number of the claims fell into multiple categories.

The financial compensation category made up the vast majority, with 534 claims falling within it.

Next was farming with 22, forestry with six and residential with five.

The Amatole district had the most settled land claim projects with 118 and Alfred Nzo district the least with 29. The most money changed hands in the O R Tambo district, where

R921 132 041 was spent and the least in Sarah Baartman (Cacadu) district at R85 592 052.

Alfred Nzo district saw 29 claims settled at a cost of R293 262 385, Amatole district 118 for R648 426 713, Buffalo City 98 at R712 828 523, Chris Hani district about 103 at R539 815 491, Joe Gqabi district 51 at R595 691 150, Nelson Mandela Bay 44 claims at R243 279 629, O R Tambo district 53 settled at R921 132 041 and Sarah Baartman (Cacadu) district 60 for

R85 592 052.

In a few cases a claim project fell under more than one district and there were some claims that extended into areas that are no longer part of the Eastern Cape.

According to the documents in the Dispatch’s possession the ongoing land claims are:

● 47 in the Alfred Nzo district;

● 145 in the Amatole district;

● 36 in Buffalo City Metro;

● 111 in Chris Hani district;

● 57 in Joe Gqabi district;

● 73 in Nelson Mandela Bay;

● 55 in OR Tambo; and

● 155 in Sarah Baartman (Cacadu) district.