The Commission on Restitution of Land Rights (CRLR) says 83 205 land claims have been settled since 1998.

The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development announced in a statement that it has spent nearly R58 billion on these claims. Of this amount, R26,4 billion was for land purchases, R26 billion for financial compensation and R5,4 billion for grants.

The CRLR has handed over title deeds and financial compensation to claimants in all provinces. The claimants were individuals and communities who were dispossessed of land and property during the apartheid era.

The Western Cape has the highest number of settled claims (17 488), followed by the Eastern Cape (17 258), KwaZulu-Natal (16 179), Gauteng (13 271), Limpopo (4 834), Northern Cape (4 069), North West (3 981), Mpumalanga (3 450) and Free State (2 675).

According to the statement, a total of 376 976 individuals and communities benefited from the process, and 3 895 935 hectares were transferred to beneficiaries, including more than 1 270 people with disabilities who received land or financial compensation.

The department says it understands claimants’ concerns about the time it takes to settle claims. In response, the department has intensified its efforts to expedite the resolution of outstanding claims. In 2019, the CRLR launched Project Kuyasa, which means “the sun rises” in Zulu, to adapt its methods for greater efficiency.

The project aimed for quicker response times, more streamlined processes and better customer service to reduce claim backlogs and deliver better service.

When Project Kuyasa began, it was estimated that there were about 9 000 outstanding claims, and the goal was to resolve them within five years if the budget allowed. By March 2021, 82 198 land claims had been settled, and according to the latest statistics only 1 007 of the projected 9 000 claims have been resolved since then.

The department says it remains committed to rectifying the injustices of the past and speeding up the settlement of land claims through the CRLR.