Possible constitution changes for Khoisan land claims : Wednesday 16 October 2013

Possible constitution changes for Khoisan land claims

Wednesday 16 October 2013 06:26

Mercedes Besent

Khoisan people may be able to claim their land if the contitution is amended.

Khoisan people may be able to claim their land if the contitution is amended.(African - point)

The South African Constitution may have to be amended to facilitate land claims for the Khoisan communities that were dispossessed of their land prior to 1913. This is according to Deputy Chief Land Claims Commissioner Thami Mdontswa.

The Commission for the Restitution of Land Rights and the Rural Development and Land Reform Department presented the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill in Parliament on Tuesday. It only makes provision for the reopening of land claims for those who missed the 1998 cut-off date but not for the Khoisan communities who were dispossessed prior to 1913.

Thami Mdontswa says the existing restitution legislation and the constitution only make provision for land claimants who were dispossessed of their land after the 19th of June 1913. “If we are not going to address dispossessions that took place before 1913, we may then have to amend that section in the constitution,” he says.

Mdontswa highlighted that the department has already established a National Khoisan Working Group which meets every month, to engage with them in the process. “They understand that the process relating to 1913 is a complex one and you are going to need to do your research thoroughly,” he explains.

According to Mdontswa a separate bill to make provision for the Khoisan descendants, is expected to be in place before the term of office of this administration comes to an end next year. Thami Mdontswa, Rural Development and Land Reform, Restitution of Land Rights, National Khoisan Working Group.

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