Disgruntled pensioners protest for land restitution

The residents say many of them are old and want what is rightfully theirs returned to them before they die.

A group of pensioners protest outside Parliament demanding restitution for homes that were demolished during the apartheid era on 3 September, 2014. Picture: Lauren Isaacs/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - A group of 100 people, mostly pensioners, protested outside Parliament today demanding restitution for homes that were demolished during the apartheid era.

The disgruntled residents, mostly from Nyanga, say many of them are old and want what is rightfully theirs returned to them before they die.

The group submitted a memorandum stating that while the unemployment and poverty rates are high, land claim benefits are a great need especially for the elderly.

The Rural Development and Land Reform Ministry's Errol Heynes, who accepted the memorandum, says they'll respond within 14 days.

"We were informed a few minutes ago that this gathering was taking place. Our minister unfortunately is in Cabinet at the moment and I will hand it over and we will try and give a response."

Last month, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) released a report on land restitution in South Africa which said problems with the process have still not been resolved.

Understaffing, a lack of technical skills and inadequate research capacity are some of the challenges hindering the restitution process.

Earlier this year, Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform Gugile Nkwinti said new claims would be captured electronically to prevent a repeat of past problems with lost information.

This will enable South Africans who had land taken away from them during apartheid, to lodge claims until the end of July 2019.

Nkwinti said mobile units would also be deployed to remote areas.