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ConCourt: Land Claims Court right to appoint special master

The apex court has dismissed the Department of Rural Development and Labour Reform’s appeal that challenged the Land Claims Court’s appointment of the special master.

FILE: The Constitutional Court. Picture: Clement Manyathela/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Constitutional Court has ruled that the Land Claims Court was right to appoint a special master of the court to handle a backlog of claims including those of 11,000 labour tenants seeking access to land and security of tenure.

The apex court has dismissed the Department of Rural Development and Labour Reform’s appeal that challenged the Land Claims Court’s appointment of the special master.

In the judgment, the Constitutional Court’s outgoing Justice Edwin Cameron said the intervention by the land claims court was due to consistent failure by the department in its functions which cried for a remedy.

"In the view of the majority of this court, the land Claims Court directed itself properly and scrupulously to the facts for it in appointing the special master. These showed failing institutional functionality of an extensive and sustained degree that cried out for a remedy."

The 11,000 claimants approached the department in 2001 in vain, filing claims against the prestigious KwaZulu-Natal’s Hilton College.

The special master will independently assist in the processing of the labour tenant claims.

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