Does the Government own your land: phantom State owned land creeping out of the cellars?


Land reform and communal land issues

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Mike Caister,South Africa,


This paper reports on the process followed to resolve the status of land parcels recorded as owned by the State, but which were not reflected in current cadastral data. An audit of State owned land in KwaZulu-Natal in 2007- 2008 showed the State as owning land parcels that had been owned and occupied by private persons for many years.

In a number of cases it became evident that double registration possibly existed, which had to be resolved. This paper first defines the historical background and some of the key concepts involved in registration of rights to land. The paper then explains the methods used in some of the cases where double registration appeared to have taken place. Typically, these included clarifying the following: where the land parcel was located; what was located there at the time of investigation; and what, if any, of the land parcel or its rights remained. Based on the results of this research, a recommendation for the alteration of the registration status of the land parcel was made.

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