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Kuruvakadua slams landowners

Repeka Nasiko
Sunday, February 18, 2018

NATIVE landowners giving up reserved land have been one of the causes of the increase in squatter settlements, says iTaukei Lands Trust Board general manager Tevita Kuruvakadua.

He said the reserved land was meant to be given to members of the landowning unit.

"All these squatter settlements have come about because landowners are agreeing in the first place to accept informal tenants to come in and squat on their land," he said.

"It's the doing of the respective landowners. Most of these squatter settlements are carried out on iTaukei reserved land, meaning these are land put aside by the landowning unit to be occupied only by the members of the unit or the members of that particular mataqali."

He said this was beyond the control of the TLTB.

"For example, if a friend of the landowner comes in from a different part of Fiji and he wants to settle where the landowner is. He goes directly to the landowning unit and makes a sevusevu and makes a goodwill payment and so they are allowed to settle on their land.

"They do this without coming through the formal process of going to TLTB. "

He said the board was working closely with Government to convert 19 informal settlements into residential areas.

"This will also allow landowners to get a proper lease and that will enable them to receive lease payments in a structured manner. Most of the landowners are appreciative of the initiative.

"They understand that this is an expensive exercise and it will take a while before everything is formalised and that includes them receiving their proper lease documents."

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