Botlokwa residents not satisfied with Land Claims Commission’s handling of 20-year claim

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A group of land claimants from Botlokwa outside Polokwane in Limpopo have expressed dissatisfaction with the adjudication of their claim by the Land Claims Commission.

About 400 households falling under the Dithakone Communal Property Association (CPA) claim they were forcefully removed from their ancestral land in the 1960s by the former apartheid government. The land claimants say they have been waiting for over 20 years to get back their ancestral land but with no success.

Secretary of Dithakone CPA, Selepe Mahapa, says that some claimants have since passed while waiting for the land to be returned.

“Every time we get a lawyer, we are told that that Dithakone CPA’s claim is at court. It has now been more than 20 years of being told that the claim is in court. Is it possible that a case can spend more than 20 years in court? It’s really unbelievable,” says Mahapa.

The secretary goes on to express the associations worry regarding their claim, as he says many other CPAs they have worked with since 1994 have had successful claims and received their land back.

Land Claim Commission spokesperson, Avhashoni Magada, has offered explanation for the delay saying the Commission has appointed lawyers to help resolve the dispute with the current land owners of the land under claim.

Magada has provided details of the process which has been undertaken thus far.

“The claim was investigated and found to meet the requirements. It was then gazetted, which is a step to inform landowners that their land is under claim. The land owners disputed the validity of Dithakone’s land claim. After the dispute, the Commission took the matter to court, and we also assisted the community to secure the services of a lawyer through our own processes,” Magada explains.

The spokesperson says the matter is now in the hands of the Legal Aid Board, and it was the transfer of files from their department to the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development which resulted in the delay.