Guidelines for Group Land Rights in Communal Areas | Land Portal
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Date of publication: 
June 2014
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This manual of guidelines is distributed by the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement to guide Communal Area residents and land authorities about group land rights. This guidance is official. This means that advice should be followed – as relevant to the case in point. Although formal provision for group land rights is new, the idea of holding rights collectively is well known in Communal Areas. Under customary norms, many residents already hold rights to a particular area not as individuals but as members of families and communities (or ‘groups’). The law requires that all existing customary rights to land be registered by February 2016. This includes rights held by individuals, married spouses, families, villages or other groups. After February 2016 (or a later date if extended) customary interests that have not been identified, verified and formalized in entitlements run the risk of being presumed null and void. The lands to which these rights relate could, in theory, be made available for reallocation. Residents therefore have a good reason to clarify and formally apply for recognition of rights they hold as groups. The routes for such registration are new and still evolving. This is because the national law on communal lands, the Communal Lands Reform Act, 2002, only focused on identification and formalization of individual rights. This was found to discriminate against those who hold rights jointly as spouses, or as families and communities. Changes are therefore being put in place. The objective of this Manual is to guide residents in how to use these new opportunities.

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