The Land Court Bill has been sent to the National House of Traditional Leaders (NHTL) for comment.
The referral is in terms of section 39(1) of the Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Act of 2019.
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”.
The bill aims to:
• provide for the establishment of a Land Court and a Land Court of Appeal;
• make provision for the administration and judicial functions of the Land Court and Land Court of Appeal;
• make provision for budgetary matters;
• provide for the exclusive jurisdiction of the Land Court and Land Court of Appeal for certain matters;
• provide for mediation and arbitration procedures;
• amend certain laws relating to the adjudication of land matters by other courts; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.
According to the bill’s memorandum, it “seeks to establish a specialist Land Court, with its judgments, orders and decisions appealable at a specialist Land Court of Appeal”.
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 last month, the 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 portfolio committee on justice and correctional services called for comment on the bill until 23 July 2021.
The NHTL has until 20 August 2021 to make any comments on the bill.