Saai concerned over land claims
14 August 2020
The increase in the number of land claims actively processed in the run-up to 2021’s local elections is a source of concern for the Southern African Agri Initiative (Saai).
“This increased activity is mirrored in the increase of farm visits by claimants and officials from the Land Claims Commission, offers to landowners and pressure to sell their property at lower than market value,” says Dr Theo de Jager, Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Saai.
Saai is concerned about the lack of transparency of the process, especially since landowners struggle to obtain the basic documents from the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, such as claim forms or research on the validity of the claims. It seems that, in most cases, no research has ever been done.
Although the Department and especially the Land Claims Commission recently suffered bad setbacks in the courts – with damning rulings over poor administration and mismanagement leading to major embarrassment – officials are forging ahead and intimidating landowners, showing no concern for the law or prescribed processes.