Mashatile warns land claims could cost state R172 billion

Deputy President Paul Mashatile wants the State to fast-track land claims. Picture Leon Lestrade/ African News Agency (ANA)

Deputy President Paul Mashatile wants the State to fast-track land claims. Picture Leon Lestrade/ African News Agency (ANA)

Published Sep 22, 2023


Deputy President Paul Mashatile has warned that if the government tried to settle all land claims in the country it would cost it R172 billion over the next three decades.

Mashatile said while they were trying to implement the land reform programme, this has been delayed by a number of factors including land disputes.

Mashatile said during the first deadline of 1998 for people to lodge land claims they have been able to settle more than 83,000 of these claims. This has cost the state R79 billion.

Out of those claims, there were only 5,000 claims that were outstanding.

But the government was trying to fast-track all claims.

Mashatile, who was answering questions in Parliament on Friday, said he was now chairing the Inter-Ministerial Committee on land.

He was going to look into these matters.

“The IMC on land reform has been revitalised and I chair that committee. We have already met more than once. The Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (Thoko Didiza) and the deputy minister are part of that committee.

“We are prioritising this matter because, indeed, we realised that it’s costing us a lot of money and taking too long. But we realised there are some challenges we have to deal with, among them, will be the question of overlapping rights in some instances. Sometimes claims are complex. There are also competing claims,” said Mashatile.

He also said the other problem was landowners who inflate prices for land.

This drags the process for claims to be finalised. They need to find a way in which all the stumbling blocks are removed and they fast-track all land claims.

He said the Inter-Ministerial Committee must look at the defects in the system in order to fast-track land claims.

“The IMC should look at the defects, correct it and we complete (the claims) faster within a reasonable budget. If we proceed in the manner we did, we estimate that it could cost us R172bn over the next 30 years. We want to do it shorter, within a reasonable budget. In some instances, when you want to move faster you can’t because of the challenges,” said Mashatile.

However, it was the government’s desire to move with speed and finalise all land claims in the country.