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Draft Land Court Bill on Track

July 27, 2020

Department of Justice and Constitutional Development

The justice and constitutional development department plans to table a Draft Land Court Bill in parliament during the current financial year.

The justice and correctional services minister, Ronald Lamola, revealed this during the Justice and Constitutional Development Department Budget Vote 2020/21 in parliament.

The minister added that the proposed legislation is designed to set up a Land Court to replace the Land Claims Court in the current system.

“Under this bill, the Land Court will have the jurisdiction to deal with certain identified national laws which have a bearing on land and also promote and provide for Alternative Dispute Resolution structures similar to those of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA). This special court will play a critical role in land jurisprudence.”

In the current financial year, the process to transfer the legal representation function (and related budget) currently undertaken by the Land Rights Management Facility in the agriculture, land reform and rural development department to Legal Aid SA will be undertaken.

“This transfer will ensure that Legal Aid SA has both the finances and capacity required to broaden its reach to the indigent especially those who seek land justice.”

According to the minister, COVID-19 has “laid bare missed opportunities over the past couple of years to modernize our justice system in order to have a direct bearing on how people particularly of working class communities can access the system”.

The minister indicated that the Draft Domestic Violence Amendment Bill, published for comment in March 2020, will make it possible for one to apply for a protection order online.
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The draft bill aims to amend the Domestic Violence Act, 1998 so as to:

• further regulate certain definitions;
• further facilitate the obtaining of protection orders against acts of domestic violence;
• introduce obligations on relevant functionaries in the Department of Social Development and the Department of Health to provide certain services to victims of domestic violence;
• align the provisions of the Domestic Violence Act, 1998 with the provisions of the Protection from Harassment Act, 2011 and
• provide for matters connected therewith.

The minister also announced that the process of reforming the Criminal Procedure Act will be initiated this financial year to address some of the systemic challenges and modernization of the act.

In his speech, the deputy minister of justice and constitutional development, John Jeffery, declared that the Protection of Personal Information Act gives effect to the right to privacy.

“The Act has been put into operation incrementally, with a number of sections of the Act having been implemented in April 2014. Many of the remaining provisions of the Act could only be put into operation at a later stage as they require a state of operational readiness for the Information
Regulator to assume its role.”

The remaining sections of the act – with the exception of 2 sections which apply to the Promotion of Access to Information Act – came into operation earlier this month.

“These sections pertain to, amongst others, the conditions for the lawful processing of personal information, the prohibition of the processing of special personal information, procedures for dealing with complaints, provisions regulating to direct marketing by means of unsolicited
electronic communication, and general enforcement. The 2 remaining sections will come into effect on 30 June next year.”