26 September, 2016
Media Statement by the Chief Land Claims Commissioner, Ms Nomfundo Ntloko Gobodo
The implications of the
Constitutional Court ruling on the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Act,
2014 on the operations of the Commission
In the Statement of the Cabinet
Meeting of 31 August 2016, issued on 2 September 2016, Cabinet stated that it
had noted the Constitutional Court ruling on the Restitution of Land Rights
Amendment Act, 2014 ("the Amendment Act") that reopened the lodgement of land
restitution claim, and that the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights
("Commission") will be conducting a media briefing to guide the way forward
following the ruling.
Earlier today the Commission
briefed the Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform of the
National Assembly on the Implications of the Constitutional Court Judgment on
the operations of the Commission.
This media briefing therefore
serves to update the people of South Africa, land claimants and our land reform
stakeholders on the implications of the judgment on the operations and mandate
of the Commission.
The Restitution of Land Rights
Amendment Act, 2014, inter alia, reopened the lodgement of land claims for a
period of five years, calculated from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2019. The validity
of the Amendment Act was challenged by civil society organisations on the basis
that Parliament failed to conduct public participation in the manner required
by the Constitution. The Constitutional Court upheld the challenge, and
declared the Amendment Act invalid effective from 28 July 2016.
The implications of the judgement to the
Commission are as follows:
- The immediate effect of the
order is that (subject to the important qualifications set out below) from
28 July 2016 the Restitution Act must be read as though the Amendment Act
was never enacted.
- Potential claimants who had not
lodged claims by 27 July 2016 may therefore no longer do so. For
them, the claims lodgement deadline of 31 December 1998 has been
- Already pending new order
claims (those lodged prior to 27 July 2016) are protected (validly lodged)
and remain claims for the purposes of the Restitution Act. The Commission
is however interdicted from processing those claims until Parliament
passes a new law that reopens the lodgement of claims, or if the
Commission settles or refers to the Land Claims Court all claims lodged by
31 December 1998.
- If Parliament does not re-enact
legislation re-opening lodgement of claims by 27 July 2018, the Chief Land
Claims Commissioner is required to approach the Constitutional Court for
directions on how the Commission is to process the already pending new
- The order does not expressly
deal with the powers of the Land Claims Court in relation to the pending
new order claims. In this regard, the Land Claims Court will, in the
Amaqamu and Emakhasaneni court cases that will be heard on 19 to 23
September 2016 the Land Claims Court will determine:
status of new order competing claims in light of the Judgment
effect of the Judgment on the adjudication of pending land claims lodged
by 31 December 1998 in cases where competing land restitution claims have
been lodged on 1 July 2014
shall shift the resources that were meant for the lodgement of claims to the
research and settlement of claims.
shall prepare for settlement all claims lodged by 31 December 1998. Their
settlement will depend on the resources to be allocated. Before the invalidation of the Amendment Act the
Commission had received 166, 560 claim. The Commission is presently conducting
an audit to determine whether there are no duplicates claims and will be
issuing a report at a later stage on the final lodgement that took place by 27
Status on Claims
Presently, there are 7419 old land
claims that have not yet been settled.
Approximately 80 000 land claims
were lodged with the Commission by 31 December 1998. Of these old claims, 78750
have been settled cumulatively as at 31 March 2016.
The settlements have resulting in the
award of 3.32 million hectares (of which 1.9 million hectares have been
transferred to beneficiaries) and R10.2 billion has been paid as financial
A total of 399 116 households (1.9
million individuals) have benefitted from the restitution programme as at 31
The government has spent R19.9
billion on acquisition of land for restitution purposes, as at 31 March 2016.
The re-opening of lodgement of claims remains a policy
of Government. The Portfolio Committee is finalising its discussions regarding
the way forward on a Bill reopening the lodgement of claims.
Enquiries: Mr Sibusiso Lubisi, Cell: 076 7931 658,
Issued by Government Communications (GCIS) on behalf
of the Commission on
Restitution of Land Rights
07 September 2016
Download the PDF presentation: Restitution Commission 7 September 2016 presentation