Govt reopens land redistribution talks

Public representatives can have their say in a workshop on land redistribution.

Public representatives can have their say in a workshop on land redistribution. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Various parliamentary committees will spend the next two days discussing land redistribution after cabinet approved proposed amendments to the law for public comment.

The Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill, if passed, will reopen the land claims process that closed in 1998.

If the bill becomes law, it would allow those who missed the first deadline to claim, opening the door for new claims.

Chairperson of Parliament's agriculture, forestry and fisheries portfolio committee, Lulu Johnson says the two-day workshop will shape discussion on the issue.

"Workshops kick-starts with a planned nationwide parliamentary process for public participation where public representatives are going to engage with citizens about measures taken to redress the effects of this legislation."

In February, President Jacob Zuma announced that government would now pursue the "just and equitable" principle set out in the Constitution, instead of the "willing buyer, willing seller" principle which forces the state to pay more for land than its actual value.

Zuma also said government would provide better incentives for commercial farmers that were willing to mentor smallholder farmers.