NATIONAL NEWS - The Tzaneen central business area, top residential properties, and a large part of the industrial area form part of a land claim for restitution, confirming fears that land claims with or without compensation are not limited to agricultural land, reports Letaba Herald.
On September 21, the department of rural development and land reform published in the Government Gazette an amendment to the Gazette Notice 946 of 2002, whereby three individual claimants have lodged land claims for restitution of land rights on portions of land that are located within the farm Pusela 555LT.
Pusela 555LT once existed as a large one piece property on which the town of Tzaneen was established.
Preliminary investigations by the Regional Land Claims Commissioner: Limpopo indicate that the claimants were dispossessed of land rights such as Portion 0, Portion 1, and Portion 10 of ERF 2290 of Tzaneen extension 11, Tzaneen extension 4 and Portion 4 of ERF 3366 of Tzaneen extension 22.
The portions of ERF 2290 and ERF 3366 consist of four industrial properties covering an area of 11,568 square meters and is situated in the old industrial area with Koedoe Street, Nyala Street, Rietbok Street, and Plantation Road making up the perimeter. With regard to the properties located in Tzaneen extension 4, it is, however, a totally different scenario.
The area covers a total of 102.2519 hectares which include Medi Park, Fauna Park, and Sentra Park.
The streets serving as the perimeter of the claim are Boundary Street, Circle Drive, Claude Wheatley Street, Pusela Street, and Sapekoe Drive.
Within these perimeters are 192 residential stands, 57 business stands, 14 municipal properties, four state-owned properties, eight vacant stands, two public benefit stands, and seven properties registered as owned by religious groups or churches. Minitzani and its bordering park, a large portion of Laerskool Tzaneen, and the Van Velden Hospital are all situated within these perimeters.
It should be noted that these claims were lodged before the cut off date of December 31, 1998.
It is a well-known fact that the government’s original land claims project failed dismally and is one of the reasons why claims that were lodged before the cutoff time are only now receiving the necessary attention. In the past, there were land claims on properties situated within the new industrial area of Tzaneen, past Flora Park, but was settled by the land claims commissioner by means of monetary compensation to the claimants.
In view of the current political climate and the possibility of the constitution being amended to include land expropriation without compensation, there are no guarantees that the same would apply.
So, should the residents and property owners of Tzaneen be perturbed by the amendment to the Gazette, or could it be that the 2019 general election will serve as another motivation to address 20-year-old claims and will it take another 20 years before it is settled? Only time will tell.