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Zuma encourages use of lawyers for land claims

The president called on traditional leaders to take a different approach to lodging land claims.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - President Jacob Zuma has again urged traditional leaders to get lawyers to take advantage of the land claims process, which was reopened last year.

Zuma was addressing the National House of Traditional Leaders in Parliament earlier today.

President Zuma says the last time he spoke at the opening of the house, he called on members to take a different approach to lodging land claims.

"We can't do as we did when we were being invaded, and we fought as different groups. We got defeated one by one until we were colonised."

He says some rural communities don't have money to appoint lawyers and as a result they fail to, at times, present solid land claims cases.

Zuma says that's why it's important for traditional leaders to organise themselves properly and to speak on behalf of the disadvantaged.

The president signed into law the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Act last year, which reopens the restitution claims process that closed at the end of 1998 and gives an applicant five years to lodge new claims.

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