Lindiwe Mazibuko MP


DA submits Private Member’s Bill on Communal Land Rights

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On 6 October, the Democratic Alliance (DA) submitted a Private Member’s Bill on Communal Land Rights to the Speaker of the National Assembly. The objective of this Bill is to give people living on communally owned land in the former homelands full and unhindered individual ownership of their land.


People living in the former homelands make up half of South Africa’s population. It is unacceptable that, in the seventeenth year of democracy, they are still waiting for their land rights to be made secure.


The inequities bequeathed by colonialism and Apartheid must be redressed to ensure a thriving rural economy that provides for job creation and economic growth.


We strongly believe that full individual ownership must be extended to ensure that people living on communally owned land are empowered to live unencumbered on their land and leverage it to improve their livelihoods. Without full individual property rights, residents on communally owned land cannot use their land as loan collateral, rent, or sell any portion of it to enjoy the full benefits of land ownership.


Land ownership has the potential to ensure the expansion and diversification of South Africa’s commercial agriculture sector to increase productivity, create more rural jobs and promote food security.


This proposed legislation is driven by the need to expedite the process of transferring land historically owned by the former homelands to individuals. More than this, such legislative amendments are necessitated by the Constitutional Court’s May 2010 finding that the Communal Land Rights Act (CLARA) was unconstitutional. The Constitutional Court reached this conclusion that the Act had been enacted in a procedurally incorrect manner.


In response, the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform admitted that CLARA was inconsistent with government policy and would be repealed.


It has been over a year, and we are yet to see legislation to fill this lacuna.


Our Private Member’s Bill proposes that:

  • Legislation must be drafted to ensure that all land in the former homelands is surveyed so that it is known exactly how much land exists and who is living on it. Currently, this land is categorised as “unsurveyed, unregistered state land” and “trust land” and is not properly registered in any database.
  • Once the process of surveying land is complete, land must be registered in individuals’ names in the Deeds Registry after a public announcement has been made calling for individual community members to register ownership of the land they are currently living on.
  • The rates collection system that applies in municipal areas should be applied in these areas as well, so that the entire country is covered by a simple and uniform rates collection system. Currently, this system is not applied to communally held land. This new system would require these areas to be demarcated as municipalities and therefore subject to the provisions of the Municipal Systems Act.

We trust that the Portfolio Committee on Private Member’s Legislative Proposals and Special Petitions will consider our proposal favourably, and bring much needed relief to the residents on communally owned land.


People living in the former homelands have been denied individual land ownership for too long. We believe it is high time that their rights are recognised as part of our national land reform strategy.


Written by Lindiwe Mazibuko

October 11, 2011 at 07:39

Posted in Uncategorized

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