The landmark case that has been compelling the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (the Department) to implement the Land Reform (Labour Tenant) Act returned to court on the 17th May 2016 offering new hope to labour tenants. After many deliberations, Land Claims Court Judge Seena Yacoob declared, “The parties shall negotiate in good faith to conclude a memorandum of understanding. The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform will appoint a senior manager responsible for managing the national implementation of the Land Reform (Labour Tenant) Act.”
Among other key features of the Court Order is the establishment of a National Forum of key Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) who support labour tenants and farm dwellers, which would work together with the Department regarding the development of a national programme for labour tenants and farm dwellers, as well as the monitoring and evaluation of the progress of the programme’s implementation.
The Association For Rural Advancement (AFRA), supported by the Legal Resources Centre, is entering these negotiations cautiously, considering the Department’s consistent failure to effectively implement the Labour Tenant Act or to consult the large majority of labour tenant about their claims over the past 15 years. We remain in direct discussion with labour tenants who are affected, and as AFRA we believe that they should be involved in the settlement of their claims and that a national comprehensive programme with the necessary resources to implement the law needs to be developed – one which has the rights of labour tenants at its centre. Continue reading