Since the reopening of lodgement of land claims, more than 100 000 households from remote rural communities have been reached through the land claims mobile offices introduced in April 2015 by the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights. As a result of this initiative 27696 land claims were lodged through the mobile lodgement offices alone during the first year of roll-out, bringing hope to many victims of land dispossession across the country.
“The decision to reopen the lodgement of land claims was informed by the fact that many individuals and communities who qualified to lodge land claims did not lodge due to lack of awareness of the programme. We are quite pleased with the progress made so far in reaching people in far flung rural areas through these mobile lodgement offices ”, announced Chief Land Claims Commissioner, Nomfundo Ntloko-Gobodo.
Many people who were assisted through the mobile lodgement offices have expressed their appreciation for these offices which have made it easy for them to lodge their claims this time around. By visiting these remote rural areas, the six mobile offices (the Sol Plaatje, Gemsbok, Mabulandila-Vulindlela, Inkanyezi, Maropeng, and Thembekile) have provided relief for those families who otherwise would not have had the resources to travel to our 14 Lodgement offices in all 9 Provinces across the country.
Mr Alfred Msibi (97) and Mrs Maria Sibisi (79) from Mpumalanga Province were among many of the elderly people across the country who have been assisted to lodge their land claim in their village through these mobile offices. “We will be glad if the process can be quicker and for government to compensate us for our loss. We have had no peace since the day we were dispossessed of our ancestral land”, commented the two senior citizens whose hopes have been revived by the visit of the Mabulandila-vulindlela mobile lodgement office to their area.
From the northern parts of the country in Limpopo to the small Karoo towns in the Northern Cape, right through to the most southern parts of the country in the Western Cape, the mobile land claims offices have been warmly received by persons who were dispossessed of their land after 19 June 1913 as a result of racially motivated laws and practices, who feel they have been thrown a lifeline to get redress for their loss and suffering.
A total of 4 busses and 2 all-terrain 4 x 4 trucks specially equipped with technology to receive applications on site will continue to travel across the country to receive these claims until 30 June 2019; this is part of the drive to speed up delivery on the land Restitution programme. Combined together, these mobile lodgement offices have the capability to reach communities irrespective of the geo-spatial challenges.
Since the introduction of the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Act in July 2014 making provision for the lodgement of new land claims for a further period of five years until 30 June 2019, cumulatively a total of 143,720 new claims have been lodged with the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights across the country as at 31 March 2016.
“As a result of the intervention of the mobile lodgement offices visiting communities to assist them to lodge claims, we are confident that we will have reached a significant number of prospective claimants by June 2019. The large number of claimants reached so far is evidence that we are making good progress with the mobile lodgement offices campaign”, explains the Commissioner.
Information regarding the dates on which the mobile lodgement offices will be visiting the different areas across the country is announced through local communication channels in each area. Information on the schedules of the mobile lodgement offices for all the provinces, as well as what is required to lodge a claim is available on theDepartment of Rural Development and Land Reform’s website: www.drdlr.gov.za