The impact of unsettled land claim on local spatial planning : a case of Mount Frere, Umzimvubu Local Municipality.
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This thesis undertakes an in-depth study of the Mount Frere land claim. The study focuses on the impact of unsettled land claims in small rural towns of the former Bantustan on local spatial planning. There is no known evidence of similar studies done in small rural towns, therefore the study will contribute to the construction of body of knowledge. The study takes a case study method to analyse the impact of unsettled land claims. The analysis provides a platform for drawing possible policy recommendations in respect of urban land claims in small rural towns of the former Bantustans. The thesis central argument is that the delay of settling the land claims in the small rural towns of the former Bantustans has a negative impact on the local spatial planning. The poor local spatial planning results in an uncoordinated development which constrains development in general. The study argues that the law as it stands does not clarify the role of local municipalities during the process of land claim. The study will further argue that land restoration may not always be the appropriate relief for the claimants in the case of urban land claims in small towns. In the case of Mount Frere the municipality appears to have taken a confrontational approach towards the claimants as witnessed by the number of court cases opened against the claimants. This resulted on a breakdown of trust between the municipality and the claimants. The role of the land claims commission also appears to have contributed to the problems of delayed settlement of the claim. The municipality wants to oppose restoration but the municipality seems to be unaware of section 34 of the Restitution of Land Rights Act. It is argued that there is little focus on the land claims in the rural small towns of the former Bantustans and as such this is retarding development and investment on infrastructure and local economic development. The delayed settlement has also made land invasion and illegal sale of land to be rampant and benefiting individuals and not all the claimants in the process.