The department of public works says it wants to fast-track the release of land under its control for restitution purposes. The state has a property portfolio of more than 93,000 buildings and more than 1.9-million hectares of land under the custodianship of the department of public works. Critics of the drive to amend section 25 of the constitution to allow for expropriation of land without compensation often say the government should focus on redistributing land it owns, some of which is unaccounted for or underutilised. Briefing parliament’s public works portfolio committee on Wednesday, Sasa Subban, a deputy director-general at the department, said 100 properties were targeted for release before the end of the 2019/2020 financial year by all custodians. A further 100 properties should be released in 2020/2021 financial year by all custodians, Subban said. “The North West has been identified as the province that has the largest number of outstanding settled restitution claims [93 ...

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