President Ramaphosa signs Land Court Act

land court
02 Oct 2023

President Ramaphosa has signed the Land Court Act.

Parliament gave the green light to the Land Court Bill and sent it to the president for assent in June 2023.

The bill was tabled in parliament in May 2021.

The justice and constitutional development department published the bill’s explanatory summary in Government Gazette 44480 in April 2021.

Cabinet approved the bill for tabling in parliament in February 2021.

In a statement, cabinet declared that the bill will “resolve the challenges that were experienced under the Restitution of Land Rights Act, 1994 (Act 22 of 1994) such as backlogs in land claims and dispute resolution mechanisms when disputes arise. It will also contribute immensely in the implementation of the Land Reform Programme”.

According to the bill’s memorandum, it “seeks to establish a specialist Land Court, with its judgments, orders and decisions appealable to a full bench of that Court”.

The memorandum adds that a Land Court and not a Land Claims Court as provided by the Restitution Act should be the forum to deal with all land-related matters regulated by various acts.

“This will also facilitate the expeditious disposal of cases and contribute towards the development of appropriate jurisprudence in relation to land matters.”

Speaking in parliament in 2021, the then deputy president, David Mabuza, pointed out that the proposed legislation will provide for the setting up of the Land Court “that will focus on land matters, set out clear dispute resolution mechanism and strengthen jurisprudence on land related matters”.

The national assembly (NA) passed the bill and sent it to the national council of provinces (NCOP) for concurrence in September 2022.

The portfolio committee on justice and correctional services passed the bill with amendments.

At the end of May 2023, the NCOP amended the bill and returned it to the NA for concurrence.

The portfolio committee adopted the NCOP’s proposed amendments.

The act, published in Gazette 49372, aims to:

  • provide for the establishment of a Land Court and appeals against decisions of the Land Court;
  • make provision for the administration and judicial functions of the Land Court;
  • provide for the jurisdiction of the Land Court and Magistrates’ Courts for certain land related matters;
  • provide for mediation procedures;
  • amend certain laws relating to the adjudication of land matters by other courts; and
  • provide for matters connected therewith.

The act comes into effect on a date still to be determined by the president.

Different dates may be proclaimed in respect of different provisions of the act and the different items of the schedule to the act.

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(This article is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. For more information on the topic, please contact the author/s or the relevant provider.)
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