Home South African New Land Court will ‘fast-track’ claims, says dept

New Land Court will ‘fast-track’ claims, says dept

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There has been a backlog of land claims cases for years, and the new court will help to reduce the backlog because it will have dedicated judges.

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THE DEPARTMENT of Justice has told Parliament that the establishment of the Land Court will fast-track land claim cases.

The department said the Land Court Bill provided for the abolition of the Land Claims Court and for the establishment of a new court to oversee land claims.

The Land Court would be led by a judge president and a deputy judge president.

Mak Mokulebete of the Department of Justice told MPs that there has been a backlog of land claims cases for years, and the new court would help to reduce the backlog because it would have dedicated judges.

He said the Land Court would operate in a similar way as the High Court and would be a permanent court.

When the Land Claims Court was established many years ago it was not intended to be a permanent court, but the aim was to deal with land claims speedily. But that has not happened.

“The Land Court is going to be administered by the Department of Justice. The provisions that deal with the Land Claims Court in the Restitution Act are going to be repealed through this Land Court Bill, so that everything that deals with the court will be dealt with in the Land Court,” said Mokelebete.

“All the matters that are dealt with in the Land Claims Commission are going to be transferred to and dealt with in the Land Court. There are other provisions that are dealing with instances where the matters are dealt with elsewhere. We are making a provision for that.”

Mokelebete said the president would appoint the judge president, the deputy judge president and the judges of the Land Court.

He said the judges must have expertise in land rights matters.

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola tabled the Land Court Bill in Parliament recently.