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The community of Mfulamuhle were deeply disappointed and somewhat angered to find out that their claim had not been worked on, 16 years after they lodged it.  This was revealed at a meeting of the 5th of August 2014 in Pietermaritzburg, between the community and the Restitution Commission.  This meeting was initiated by the claimants with the help of one of Justice and Peace local group in uMzimkhulu Diocese.

On the part of the community, the meeting was about clarifying the progress and status of Mfulamuhle land claim, lodged in 1998.  They were shocked to find out that their claim had not even moved beyond the research stage.  In other words it had not even been determined whether it was valid or not.  It also emerged that they were not the only claimants for the land.  There was a claim lodged by a certain Mr. Khumalo and another one by Mr. Njiyela.   The only file that the Commission had started on was Mr. Njiyela’s.  According to the Commission officials, even this file was last worked in 2012.  This means that these claims gathered dust in the Commission’s office for 16 years.

It was obvious that if the community did not stand up to make this enquiry, this claim would have stayed unattended for another 20 years or more.   Three reasons were advanced by the Commission’s officials for the delay.  The first was staff turnover.  Secondly, the fact that Mfulamuhle claim was first lodged in the Eastern Cape before the re-demarcation of boundaries.  Thirdly, that the Eastern Cape used a different method of dealing with claims, and as such when the 25 claims that were transferred to the KZN office, which were marked as gazetted, were not researched.  So, the KZN office had to start from scratch.  However, Mr. Maswazi Ndlela, pointed out that a uniform procedure was being developed, and was to be fully operational in 2015.

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The foregoing account of how the Mfulamuhle Land Claim was mishandled by the Commission does not inspire hope that the unresolved claims of 1998 will ever be resolved.  The three reasons given for such a spectacular failure to deliver are hard to believe.  If the Commission officials can cite staff turnover as a reason for this kind of paralysis, it is obvious that the commission have serious leadership problems.  Unless this is resolved, the new claimants must forget about their claims being resolved in their lifetime.