Accessibility of Land Claims Records at Kruger National Park of South Africa

Accessibility of Land Claims Records at Kruger National Park of South Africa

Nkholedzeni Sidney Netshakhuma (University of Mpumalanga, South Africa)
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3729-9.ch010
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This chapter presents a study conceptualized to assess the accessibility of land claims records preserved at the Kruger National Park (KNP) of South Africa. The study used a qualitative method through document analysis and interviews. The sample of the study comprised land claimants and archivists based at the KNP archives. The key finding revealed land claimants use their democratic rights through the Promotion of Access to Information Act of 2000 to request land claim records from KNP archives. The findings aid tools were essential to assess records preserved in the archives even though some of the records were not found in the park.
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Land dispossession of Africans was central to colonialism and apartheid in South Africa (Kepe, 2013). The majority of South African people’s loss of the heritage of land comes as a result of the apartheid laws of discriminating people based on race. The Native Land Act 27 of 1913 restricted the area of land for lawful black South African occupation of land (Jili & Masuku, 2017, p. 551). The Act ensured at least 10% of the South Africa land was being reserved for the Blacks. Other legislation such as the Group Areas Act No. 41 of 1950 denied people to live in areas reserved for white minority, which further extended the principle of removing people. Furthermore, in 1959, the Promotion of Bantu Self Government Act 46 of 1959 was enacted to establish the Bantustans homelands and to establish homeland states. Homeland states include countries such as Venda, Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda, and Ciskei (TBVC) (Netshakhuma 2017). These homelands were not recognized as sovereignty state because of the South Africa apartheid laws.

The above-mentioned legislation empowered the apartheid government to remove people from various areas to establish a national park. The removal of people was done through unfair dispossessions, limitation of land rights, human rights abuse, and restriction of the movements of people, all of which have characterized the oppressive period (Netshakhuma, 2017). Because of the apartheid legislation, most of the people were removed from their forefather land as a result of the apartheid law of forced removal. This statement was acknowledged by Tavuyanago (2017) who indicated the reasons for the government to remove black people from their land were to establish a national park system. In line with the racially discriminatory political system of apartheid and consistent with exclusionary approaches to conservation, many people were forcefully evicted from their land to make space for the establishment of protected areas known as the national parks (Krüger et al., 2016).

At the beginning of the 20th Century in South Africa, the colonial Transvaal government, under Paul Kruger, began the process of establishing the national park known as the Kruger National Park by removing the original inhabitants from their homestead to create and expand the park. The government removed inhabitants of the park through intimidation and selective use of violence and without consultations. The result has been the creation of a diaspora of various families and tribes in search of their historical roots (Skelcher 2003). It seems most of the people removed from the park lost their connection to the area and ancestral spirits for such a long time. By March 1991, disposed people demanded their land. Some went so far reoccupy their land. Under the new South African Constitution, the government enacted the Restitution of Land Rights Act. This act allowed people to file claims for the recovery of lost land resulting from the removal of black people going back to 1913.

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