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Some members of the HDA head office Land Assembly Management (LAM) team spend time in Limpopo each week, coaching, mentoring and directing the new team, and sharing the vision of land assembly management for the province.

Land geospatial services are now available to the Department of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs and, according to manager of land acquisitions Lucien Rakgoale, “Everyone is very excited about the service, especially the new look and feel LaPSIS (Land and Property Spatial Information System), the maps that we are now able to print and the spatial representation of our projects.

“Local governance and traditional affairs also call on geospatial services, so there is excitement beyond human settlements into the development planning component of the Department.”

There is a considerable amount of well-located land in the province that can be utilised for integrated, sustainable human settlements, and the Limpopo team, with the support of head office staff and the LaPSIS system, is working hard on identifying such state land for human settlements. Site inspections take place regularly, as well visits to municipalities in order to understand their development plans on specific identified properties.

State land considered to be well located is being formally requested for release by the provincial and national Departments of Public Works, and the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.

The team is also identifying, on an ongoing basis, well-located privately owned land in key nodal areas throughout the province. The HDA has commissioned valuations on prioritised private properties. So far the HDA has submitted one formal submission to the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform to release 500 hectares of state land in Lephalale. A further submission for prioritised land is ready.

Bela Bela land (72 hectares) that is being held by the Agency on behalf of the province is at final development planning stages and is programmed for implementation in the next financial year, subject to resolution of the bulk-services challenges on the project. The HDA will manage the physical implementation of this project.

The Agency also performs a monitoring role in respect of land acquired by the province since 2008 for human settlements. The intention behind such monitoring is to ensure that land acquired in terms of the grant funding is utilised for human settlements. Most of this land is, in fact, at final development planning stages for human settlements, but implementation is being delayed due to a lack of adequate bulk services.

The Limpopo monitoring role is a pilot project for the Agency; one of our functions is to develop a comprehensive status report on all properties acquired through grant funding throughout the country.

By the end of the financial year the Limpopo team will be working independently of the HDA head office staff.

“At the end of the day we should be able to get the work done by the regional office so that the LAM team at head office can concentrate on areas where we don’t have medium term operational plans,” explains Rakgoale.