The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform has warned the public to be aware of charlatans claiming to be coordinators of land claims. Within a month of the announcement of the re-opening of the land claims process, the Office of the Regional Land Claims Commission in the Western Cape has been informed that there are people who are collecting money from unsuspecting community members saying that they will help them with their land claims.
Provincial Land commissioner Michael Worsnip said that all land claims processes are free of any charge and can be done at any of their offices. Worsnip said that information about how to lodge a claim is in the public space but it is completely incorrect.
“This time around every individual has to lodge their own claim and therefore no claims will be accepted who are done on behalf of one or the other,” added Worsnip.
Unless there is proof of power of attorney, it is still the responsibility of the individual to lodge the claim. All claims are lodged electronically and therefore it is impossible to fill in a claim form of any nature. This is due to the fact that during the previous claims process, people photo copied forms and distributed it and this created room for all sorts of problems such as fraud.
Claimants were also forced to pay for these forms, which Worsnip said the department is trying to prevent this time around. He stressed that there are no payments that need to be made at any point and urged anyone who comes across such scams to immediately report it to the police. The department has the ability to prosecute anyone who knowingly lodges a false claim. The public is urged to report any fraudster to the nearest police station.
Worsnip said land claimants who do not have any proof of them having resided at a particular property, can seek assistance from the deeds office. If however they do not have any form of proof an affidavit will be accepted.
The Western Cape has two lodgement offices authorized to process land claims:
Van der Sterr Building, Rhodes Avenue Mowbray, Telephone number 021 658 4300
No 33 Shamrock Place, 97 York Street, George, Telephone number 044 874 0021. VOC (Imogen Vollenhoven)