50 signatures reached
To: Department of Rural Development and Land Affairs Minister, Gugile Nkwinti
Protect Customary Land Rights
- Strengthen and protect Land Tenure Rights of people living in communal land by enhancing Interim Protection of Informal Land Rights Act (IPILRA) into a permanent Act
Why is this important?
The Constitution recognises the informal or customary rights of people living in the former homelands yet the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform has failed to legislate a communal land rights law that will strengthen and protect these rights. As a result;
* Big cooperates are grabbing land in the communal land without any compensation for loss citing development.
* Nature of individuals and family rights within a broader community are not clarified, and overshadowed by majority in the community.
* People are not adequately compensated when land is sold or awarded for big developments
* Consultation and Consent of land occupiers is not respected because of the weak nature of the rights provided by current law.
In 1996, Parliament passed the Interim Protection of Informal Land Rights Act (IPILRA) to provide
protection for all people living on communal land in the former Bantustans, people living on trust land, people who previously had Permissions to Occupy (PTOs) and anyone living on land uninterrupted since 1997 “as if they were the owner”. This was a big milestone in the protection and recognition of customary land rights and the empowerment of families to be part of bargaining and negotiations of any socio-economic development happening in their land.
Although people are protected by IPILRA, the fact that it is temporary and can be renewed annually, deprives people of their rights to say NO to development that disadvantages them. This makes it easy for "developers" or Government to easily expropriate the land.
It is also worth noting that the law also states that the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform can make regulations in terms of IPILRA to provide more detailed processes and procedures.