The Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform welcomes the robust interactions with communities in Rustenburg in the North West province, where Committee held public hearings into the Communal Property Associations (CPAs) Amendment Bill.
The Committee noted with concern challenges highlighted by various CPAs in relation to operation and support given by the department and other spheres of government. Most concerning for the Committee were allegations of collusion between departmental officials and executives of CPAs, which have impacted on the running of the CPAs, as well as the delaying of issuing title deeds to beneficiaries.
The Committee is also concerned by allegations of corruption against some CPA executives who do not account to the beneficiaries, as required by the Constitution. Beneficiaries have a right to make contributions to the running of CPAs and the proposed amendment will enable beneficiaries to report disputes to the Registrar who will be empowered to dismiss such executives.
Delays in departmental intervention in disputes between CPA beneficiaries and the executive was also an area of concern for the Committee.
The challenges experienced by the department in the implementation of the CPA principal Act and also the findings of the Portfolio Committee after visiting various CPAs led to the proposed amendments.
There were numerous concerns raised by community members with regards to the delay of settlement of land claims that have been lodge before the 1998 cut-off dates.
The Committee reiterates its stance that government officials must do all they can to assist the public, which includes regular information sharing of progress in relation to their claims. It is unacceptable that people are left unapprised of developments regarding their claims, said Ms Phumuzile Ngwenya Mabila, the Chairperson of the Committee.
Furthermore, government officials must at all times listen to CPA beneficiaries, and guide and advise were necessary. Officials must not dictate to beneficiaries.
Despite the frustrations of the community, the Committee condemns the attempt to intimidate the regional Chief Director and the ruckus that followed his attempt to provide clarity to some of the issues raised. We are cognisant of the great unhappiness prevalent in the province, but are disappointed that the community did not give the Regional Chief Director ample time to explain causes of blockages to the implementation of the land reform programme in the province, Ms Ngwenya-Mabila said.
The Committee assured the public of its commitment to look into the allegations of collusion between departmental officials and CPA executives in the province, and other issues that were raised that need urgent attention.
Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa