GEORGE MARI, MPP MEMBER OF THE DEMOCRATIC ALLIANCE IN THE KWAZULU-NATAL LEGISLATURE
THE Democratic Alliance in the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature has today delivered a motion in the provincial parliament, in support of a call by the party at national level for legislation that will ensure full individual security of tenure for people currently living under communal land tenure. The legislation proposed by the DA vests ownership directly with the people currently living on communally owned land. The recommendation is of particular significance within KwaZulu-Natal, where a massive 43% of provincial land remains under the Ingonyama Trust. A large portion of residents are living in former homeland areas, under this communal land tenure. Land in these areas is currently categorised as “unsurveyed, unregistered state land” and “trust land”. This has resulted in insecure land tenure for thousands of people. The effects of this land ownership arrangement, particularly within KwaZulu-Natal’s rural areas, have been nothing short of catastrophic with massive unemployment, poor infrastructure and lack of maintenance on newly built homes being rife. In May 2010 the Constitutional Court declared that legislation passed to ensure security of tenure in communal areas, CLaRA, (Communal Land Rights Act) was unconstitutional. The Constitutional Court further emphasised that Parliament should urgently and diligently enact the constitutionally envisaged legislation to ensure restitution of land to the people and communities that were dispossessed of their land during the Apartheid era. The findings were not only necessitated by the finding of unconstitutionality, but also by the need to expedite the process of transferring land historically owned by the former homelands to the individuals that reside thereon. Almost two years on and we are yet to see this legislation redrafted. The DA in KwaZulu-Natal is committed to ensuring that this legislation becomes a reality and will pursue the matter within the province’s parliament. It is vital that the devolution of community owned land is begun.