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TRANCRAA land: FF Plus’s Peter Marais plays key role in finding solutions

The FF Plus welcomes the announcement by the Minister of Land Affairs, Thoko Didiza, that a date early in next year has been determined for starting the process of transferring the so-called TRANCRAA trust land, which is in the government's possession, to its rightful owners after decades of waiting.

Mr Peter Marais, FF Plus member of the Western Cape Legislature, appealed to the Minister in writing on the 24th of July to transfer the rural areas that are currently held in trusts to the coloured communities, who are the rightful owners.

Yesterday in response to Mr Marais's written request, the national Department of Agriculture gave the assurance that the land will be transferred in terms of the TRANCRAA Act before March 2021. Apparently, much progress has been made with the handover process.

The FF Plus has been actively involved in these communities' struggle over the decades and the party has always held the view that when it comes to land reform, government land must first and foremost be used for the purpose of redistribution.

The party is glad that it was able to play an important role in finding a resolution to the issue within this framework.

Several months ago, in the Western Cape Legislature, the party insisted that all land included in the Transformation of Certain Rural Areas Act (TRANCAA) must immediately be transferred to the relevant communities.

The so-called TRANCRAA land encompasses approximately 1,3 million hectares covering thirteen areas in the Western Cape, eight in the Northern Cape and three in the Free State. It is land, which was historically given to certain coloured communities, but was never formally transferred to them.

The land was transferred to the former government in 1959, which acted as trustee, and after various developments, the TRANCRAA Act was finally passed in 1998.

In the year 2000, however, the new comprehensive municipal dispensation was implemented. The independence that the relevant communities had had for decades and even centuries was suddenly taken from them. Instead of gaining property rights, they lost their land.

The formal objective of the Act was to give the land back to the communities, but in practice, it came down to nothing more than a transferral of the land to local municipalities.

In effect, it meant that the communities had no other choice but to cooperate with municipalities to decide on how they will manage their own land. There were still no signs of landownership.

Structures for service delivery and dispute resolution, which had worked well for many years, were replaced by poor municipal service delivery for which they had to pay. It was solely to the detriment of the affected communities.

The FF Plus has been involved in the people's struggle for very long and the former leader of the party, Dr Pieter Mulder, addressed the communities at a summit and gave them an overview of, among other things, the path to self-determination.

The people's struggle to formally take possession of their own land has been a long and difficult one. Over the years, some communities turned to the courts while others made various other attempts to try and settle the matter.

Over time it started to look like the ANC government would delay the process indefinitely.

Therefore, the FF Plus is overjoyed that it was able to play a role in ensuring that justice will prevail for these minority communities. The party will keep spearheading the matter on behalf of the communities until the land is formally transferred to its rightful owners.

In South Africa, the land issue and self-determination are currently two hot topics. Thus, it is important for communities and individuals to have clarity regarding the ownership of their land.

 

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