New land bill likely to uproot over 17 million people: report

A new land bill is expected to expropriate over 17 million people in a law that appears to mirror some of those seen during the Apartheid era.

According to Rapport, the Communal Land Tenure Bill, which is now open for public comment, deals with the ownership of communal land in the former traditional homelands.

The updated bill will see ownership of land transferred to the wider “community” and will be managed by either traditional councils or community property associations.

This follows a previous revision of the bill, which gave traditional leaders full control over the land – however, it was struck down by the Constitutional Court in 2010 on procedural grounds.

Speaking to Rapport, Dr Aninka Claassens of the Land and Accountability Research Centre noted that traditional leaders still hold much of the power in the latest revision, and individuals could now only acquire a deed or title if given permission by a leader.

This extends to communities of over 100,000 people who will lose their rights to land when the bill transfers their individual ownership of land to the broader “community”.

Speaking to Rapport, DA MP Kevin Mileham said the law was a move by government to rally traditional leadership around the ANC.

According to Mileham, the new land bill will also coincide with a new traditional leadership bill (which is yet to be published) that will further relax the requirements for traditional councils.

Read: Massive blow to South Africans looking to emigrate to Australia and New Zealand

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New land bill likely to uproot over 17 million people: report