Land reform claims settled

JOHANNESBURG - Almost R1 billion in financial compensation was paid to land claimants in the last financial year, the department of land reform said on Monday.

The department paid R993,145,949 to people who lodged land claims between 1994 and December 31, 1998, spokesman Mtobeli Mxotwa said in a statement.

There were 602 restitution claims settled during the financial year, starting April 1 last year and ending March 31 this year.

Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti said land claimants had the options of seeking restoration of their own land, alternative land or financial compensation.

The highest claim paid was R93 million to a community in Siphaqeni, in Flagstaff, in the Eastern Cape.

Individual claimants received an average of R54,000 in compensation. The claims related to 195,967 hectares in the country's nine provinces.

The land claim process is aimed at providing compensation for communities forcibly removed from their land by the colonial and apartheid governments between 1913 and 1994.

Mxotwa said that in most cases families used financial compensation to improve their living conditions by sending their children to school and renovating their houses.

- Sapa

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