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Govt paves way for SA's first Land Court

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola on Monday said government would be introducing a Land Court Bill to Parliament proposing the establishment of such a court.

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola addresses the media in Pretoria during a virtual Cabinet briefing on 6 August 2020. Picture: @GovernmentZA/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - South Africa could soon have its very own Land Court, which will deal with issues like expropriation and outstanding claims.

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola on Monday said government would be introducing a Land Court Bill to Parliament proposing the establishment of such a court.

Lamola said ultimately, the bill sought to ensure stronger judicial oversight over land claims, and this must lead to better settlements and reduce the scope for corruption.

He said the the draft law was also aimed at addressing systemic hurdles to land restitution.

Lamola said anyone could give evidence before such a court.

“The efficiency of the procedures and arrangement proposed in the bill will assist to develop our land jurisprudence with regards to the Land Court and the land question. For instance, the bill still allows for hearsay evidence for most families who have to rely on oral history and the existence of elders with knowledge of the description, location and of extend land, which their descendants previously occupied.”

The bill will also create a Land Appeal Court with jurisdiction equal to that of the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Legal Aid South Africa will be responsible for the legal representation function currently undertaken by the Land Rights Management Facility in the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development.

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