AfriBusiness has received confirmation from its attorneys that the business rights watchdog’s application to intervene and subsequently oppose the Bakwena Ba Mare a Phagole land claim has successfully been served on all the relevant parties and government institutions. This claim affects large areas in the southern parts of Gauteng.
The claimants are now attempting to set aside the period within which the public could make submissions to contest the claim. This period was extended with an additional 90 days from 10 March 2017. If the claimants succeed herewith, it would have the detrimental effect of invalidating any submissions made by affected parties during that period.
Initially the period for comment was 60 days from 4 November 2016. However, AfriBusiness contested that this period was too short and pressured the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform to allow for an extension.
AfriBusiness alleges that the extension of the period for comments by Harry Maphuta, the Regional Land Claims Commissioner, was a justifiable administrative action and cannot be set aside. The extent of the land claim, as well as the number of interested parties affected thereby, means that the extension was in the interest of justice. There were also conflicting reports from the Commission itself, as well as the media, as to when the first period for comments ended.
In any event, AfriBusiness views the claim as being without merit and has submitted a research report, with the assistance of an independent researcher, contesting it. “Even though the merits of the claim are not on the table for discussion before the Commission yet, it is in the interest of justice that this report, as well as all public comments, be considered to assist the Commission in making an informed decision about the validity of the claim,” says Armand Greyling, Law and Policy Analyst at AfriBusiness.
The public and especially affected parties are urged to attend the Land Claims Commission’s stakeholder meeting giving feedback on this land claim. This meeting will be held on 19 March 2018 at 10:00 at the Birchwood Hotel and OR Tambo Conference Centre. Confirm your attendance by sending an email to Bakwena.Claim@drdlr.gov.za or phoning 012 310 6526 or 071 607 4626.
Affected owners are urged to become members of AfriBusiness to attempt to stop this land claim from passing through as uncontested. Please visit our website at www.afrisake.co.za for further details or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.