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Parliament Extends Comment on ULTRA Bill

July 31, 2020

Parliament

Parliament has extended the comment period on the Upgrading of Land Tenure Rights Amendment Bill.

The portfolio committee on agriculture, land reform and rural development originally sought comment until 30 July 2020.

The agriculture, land reform and rural development department briefed the committee on the bill at the beginning of July 2020.

The bill, designed to provide for the application for conversion of land tenure rights to ownership, was tabled in parliament in May 2020.

The bill’s explanatory summary was published in February 2020.

The bill aims to amend the Upgrading of Land Tenure Rights Act, 1991, so as to:


• provide for the application for conversion of land tenure rights to ownership;
• provide for the notice of informing interested persons of an application to convert land tenure rights into ownership;
• provide for an opportunity for interested persons to object to conversion of land tenure rights into ownership;
• provide for the institution of inquiries to assist in the determination of land tenure rights;
• provide for application to court by an aggrieved person for appropriate relief;
• provide for the recognition of conversions that took effect in good faith in the past; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.

Last year, parliament called on the department to initiate work on the bill.

The Constitutional Court ruled on 30 October 2018 that section 2(1) of the 1991 Upgrading of Land Tenure Rights Act is constitutionally invalid as it discriminates against women.

The section deals with the conversion of land tenure rights into ownership.

The act provides for the upgrading and conversion into ownership of certain rights granted in respect of land.

In the briefing to the portfolio committee on agriculture, land reform and rural development, the department confirmed that the proposed amendments only deal with matters raised by the Constitutional Court in the Rahube and Senqu cases.

The department added that there are other sections of the act that, if challenged on the same basis as sections 2 and 25A, will certainly be declared unconstitutional.

The bill was also sent to the National House of Traditional Leaders for comment within 30 days.

Comment is now invited until 7 August 2020.