South Africa Renews Law Allowing Claims For Land Taken Under Apartheid

South African President Jacob Zuma

South African President Jacob Zuma

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa —  South Africa has relaunched a claims process that would allow Black families who were removed from their land under apartheid rule to apply for compensation, the presidency said on Monday.

President Jacob Zuma signed into law a return of the Restitution of Land Reform Act, which includes an extended deadline for people who lost their land to make  claims.

“The act now provides for the reopening of the lodgment of land claims by those who missed the 31 December 1998, deadline,” a presidency statement said.

The process will run for five years starting at the end of June, it said.

The law builds on a previous process that saw the examination of 80,000 requests for compensation, but which expired before all those who had been forcibly driven from their land had a chance to lodge a claim.

The 1913 Natives’ Land Act allocated just 10 percent of land to non-whites — later upped to 13 percent — which led to the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Blacks, systematized after 1948 under apartheid.

The government estimates as many as 400,000 requests for compensation could be made at a cost of between 130 and 180 billion rands ($12-17 billion, 9-12 billion euros).

White South Africans — approximately 10 percent of the population — still own as much as 80 percent of the land 20 years after the end of apartheid.


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