Land Bill to ensure stronger judicial oversight over land claims

April 7th, 2021

By Kgomotso Ramotsho

On 1 March 2021, the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola, and the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, held a media briefing on the Land Court Bill, which was approved by Cabinet. Matters, such as the objectives of the Bill and the seat of the court were addressed. The Bill is set to –

  • facilitate the expeditious disposal of cases and contribute towards the development of appropriate jurisprudence in relation to land matters;
  • create a cheaper and speedier alternative dispute resolution mechanism in the form of mediation and arbitration;
  • enhance and promote the ideal of access to land on an equitable basis;
  • promote land reform as a means of redressing the results of past discrimination; and
  • establish a Land Court with jurisdiction to grant any order, appropriate relief or impose any sanction, as provided for in the Bill or any other law that confers jurisdiction on the court.

The Bill establishes two courts, namely a High Court and Land Court of Appeal (LCA). The LCA will have the status to that of the Supreme Court of Appeal to hear and determine appeals emanating from the judgments and orders of the court.

The Land Court is set to have its seat in Johannesburg but can sit anywhere in the country. However, whenever it appears to the Judge President that is expedient or in the interests of justice to hold a sitting for the hearing of any matter at a place elsewhere than at the seat of the court, it may hold such sitting at that place. The court can sit in as many separate courts as available judges may allow.

Minister Lamola said that addressing the land question is not only a socio-economic imperative, but it is a matter of restoring the soul of the nation. He added that the Bill seeks to ensure stronger judicial oversight over claims, and this must lead to better settlements, reduce the scope for corruption and avert the bundling of claims into dysfunctional mega-claims that lead to conflict.

Kgomotso Ramotsho Cert Journ (Boston) Cert Photography (Vega) is the news reporter at De Rebus.

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