The house of Traditional Leaders in the North West welcomes this opportunity of making a presentation to the Portfolio Committee on South African Land Policy.

Like other traditional Leaders and Houses we want to re-iterate the position that not only should we make presentations on this important aspect but that these presentations must be taken seriously and find their way in the final legislation which will come out of this process.

It must be mentioned at the outset that the White Paper contains very important points of departure in land policy which should be welcome; however our view is that with specific reference to tribally owned land it falls far short of meeting the needs of our tribal communities and in some instances it outrightly diminishes tribal authorities.

Chapter 1:- We are in agreement with a number of issues raised in this chapter. We are however of the view that traditional leaders should continue play the role that they have been playing from time immemorial i.e. The role of allocating land for both residential and agricultural / productive purposes in accordance with tradition and custom.

Although we believe that the rights of women to land have been traditionally well taken care of, we believe at the same time that an improvement is needed in this regard.

Chapter 2:- Land Policy
We are of the view that the following need to be taken into consideration as well:
In a traditional rural settlement land administration will always differ with that of urban land administration. Whereas there is full participation and accountability by those in authority in our traditional/ rural settlements "democratic decision - making" as understood in the western sense is applicable. The traditional system still remains fair, just and responsive to the needs of tribal communities.

Chapter 3:- Land Policy Issues
Eliminating discrimination in women's access to land - In the past there were good reasons why women couldn't be given "free-access" to land. This has however changed in our modern day traditional rule system. As said earlier - there is still room for improvement in this regard.

We believe strongly that the poor, particularly in urban areas should be protected in relation to the role of the market in land. For us in rural/traditional settlements the protection of the rural poor is more stronger than in urban areas. The government can do well by beefing up this form of security in rural/traditional areas by allocating more financial resources for development.

We are of the view that land tax should not be made applicable in traditional/tribal areas. This will be equal to milking a barren cow.

We are of the view that whereas in the past, protection of the environment and land degradation was by natural and traditional means, this is fast providing to be inadequate and therefore the government, in consultation with the traditional/rural people can play a major role.

Land Redistribution and Restitution
Without say, this is the major challenge facing the government and much has been said in this regard. No more will be said. However land invasion by foreigners and other people is becoming a serious possibly a potentially explosive issue. The earlier this issue is dealt with boldly and immediately, the better for the stability of our people.

Land tenure
We welcome the position of the DLA that Land tenure policy and the law should be in line with reality.
The following points need/emphasy:
(1) Indeed land in rural/tribal settlements belong to the group/ tribe and not to the chief or tribal authority.

(2) Transfer of land to tribal/community authorities should be transferred in terms of statute and a title deed.

(3) The tribal authority, as a representative body of the people is a juristic person.

(4) The right to "choose" the land administration system in traditional/rural settlements will bring chaos and conflict to these areas.

The Communal Property Association Act 28 of 1996. Our view is that this act does not at all cater for the needs of rural/traditional settlements. This is based on the following:

1stly - It has the potential of replacing a legitimate authority (tribal authority) with a new authority/body - i.e. an association.

2ndly - It must be established by a "democratic process" an element foreign to traditional rule system.

Our view is that it is an idea/concept fit for areas other than traditional/rural settlement and in this regard it must be supported.

It cannot however be used as a vehicle to meet and satisfy the needs of traditional/rural communities for land claim or restitution.

Chapter 4:- We welcome the provisions of this chapter in many ways. We are however of the view that the land reform programmes in relation to traditional/rural areas must be done in full consultation with the tribes people. e.g. The DYA (Development Facilitation Act 67 of 1995) must ensure that the development of land is not only in the hands of elected councillors but also traditional leaders and their tribal authorities as "partners in development"

Chapter 5:- Land Development, Public Laud Management and Land Administration.
Whereas in the past, there was no policy with regard to land development in traditional/rural areas and proper system of land administration, we are of view that well planned and sustainable land development in our communities is more than welcome. In this regard too the DFA is relevant with the proviso that full consultation be undertaken with traditional leaders and their communities.

There are few points that need emphasy in the form of our closing remarks.

1stly - The government need to make a greater effort in back-dating the cut-off period for land claims from l913 to earlier dates.

2ndly - The Communal Property Association Act should be exempted from traditional/tribal communities.

3rdly - The government need to make a greater effort to protect the system of communal ownership of land as applicable to traditional/rural settlements.
(1) An indaba/lekgotla between dikgosi and government is essential in addressing this aspect.

We thank you for the opportunity to make our presentation.