Call for title deeds for villagers

Posted On Friday, 15 July 2016 17:10 Published by
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In a bid to protect villagers from unscrupulous property developers and illegal land invasions, the Eastern Cape government wants villagers to be granted title deeds.

 Mxolisi_Koyo

In a bid to protect villagers from unscrupulous property developers and illegal land invasions, the Eastern Cape government wants villagers to be granted title deeds for the land they occupy.

These were sentiments shared by experts and echoed by Eastern Cape premier Phumulo Masualle at the provincial round table summit on communal land policy in East London yesterday.

This comes ahead of plans by Rural Development Minister Gugile Nkwinti to table the communal land tenure policy and bill before parliament in September.

Masualle said the government needed to guarantee land ownership in rural areas so that communities could own land.

He said some communities had formed cooperatives to cultivate land, but lacked legal title to the land. – Msindisi Fengu

IN a bid to protect villagers from unscrupulous property developers and illegal land invasions, the provincial government wants villagers to be granted title deeds for the land they occupy.

These were sentiments shared by experts and echoed by premier Phumulo Masualle at the provincial round table engagement summit on communal land policy, hosted by the provincial House of Traditional Leaders and the SA Local Government Association in East London yesterday. (SUBS;CORR: Wednesday)

This comes ahead of plans by the department of Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti to table the communal land tenure policy and bill before parliament in September this year.

Masualle said government needed to guarantee land ownership in rural areas in order for communities to own land.

He said some communities formed cooperatives to cultivate land but did not have proof as legal owners of the land. “They don’t have a right to say this is my family’s field. There must be a way that the law will allow people to legally own land and develop it.”

He said communities also needed to decide on what would happen in their land to avoid illegal occupation.

The communities would work together with municipalities when Integrated Development Plans were developed in which spatial development plans were incorporated to ensure that land for development was identified.

Masualle said there were spiraling land invasions resulting in some settlements being occupied without authority.

The Daily Dispatch has published a series of reports where residents clashed with government because they had built houses on land belonging to the state.

In 2015, the newspaper reported that 24 homeowners in Dimbaza faced eviction and their homes demolished after government went to court to declare their occupation as illegal. A similar incident happened in Mbhashe municipality.

In another incident, homeowners illegally built on valuable land situated near the East London Airport.

Farm 871 in Greydell, otherwise known as Bongweni township, was owned by the national department of public works but has since been given to BCM.

However its occupation has stalled the planned expansion of the airport.

Chris Hani District Municipality executive mayor Mxolisi Koyo said there have been cases where investors bribed individuals including chiefs and councilors to use communal land without an agreement being reached with communities. “Private investors will come in and create a mess. They bribe people and divide the community. These are dirty dealings that in some instances result in 35 year leases being signed and people finding out later that they cannot use their land,” he said

Rural Development policy chief Hilton Toolo said the new legislation would ensure land tenure security, democratic land governance, equitable land access, food security and inclusive governance.

He said the government planned to ensure families in rural areas would be legal owners of land.

“There are endless opportunities in this province. Government says bring back communal land to rightful owners. We need to stop fighting over crumbs [left by colonisers],” Toolo said.

source: Herald

Last modified on Friday, 15 July 2016 17:43

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