Labour tenants, Land News

Urgent Update: Minister convenes National Land NGO Forum in breach of Court Order

The Association For Rural Advancement (AFRA) has recently discovered that the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform has invited a number of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to attend a meeting today, 29th July 2016, in Gauteng.

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In his invitation the Minister has stated that the purpose of the meeting will be:

“the establishment of the Forum, working together with the Department, which will be responsible, inter alia, for policy formulation, development of the National Programme for the implementation and monitoring and evaluation of progress in respect of the Land Reform (Labour Tenants) Act 2 of 1996 (LTA) and Extension of Security of Tenure Act 62 of 1997 (ESTA)”

In this context, AFRA is surprised that it did not receive an invitation to attend the meeting and is deeply concerned with the Minister’s decision not to invite AFRA to participate in the establishment of the national forum. We are also concerned by the repeated attempts of the Department to further delay the processing of labour tenant claims, which are clear set out in a very specific legal process, by confusing the process with regards to a broader programme for Farm Dwellers with a very different set of rights. The Department has systematically attempted to reduce the rights of labour tenants to the land which they have been promised by the Constitution that they should now have ownership of. Continue reading

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AFRA News, Land News, Restitution

[Press Release] AFRA welcomes ruling Restitution Amendment Act as “invalid”

Today, the Constitutional Court recognised that the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) and Provincial Legislature violated sections 72(1)(a) and 118(1)(a) of the Constitution by failing to conduct adequate public participation processes in the passing of the Restitution Amendment Act.

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The Constitutional Court found the amendment unconstitutional and invalid. This is a significant step in processing the original land claims which the Association For Rural Advancement (AFRA) believes were prejudiced in the Restitution Amendment Act of 2014.

The Amendment Act amended the Restitution of Land Rights Act, 22 of 1994, and was signed into law by President Jacob Zuma on 30 June 2014. It allowed people who had not lodged land claims by the original cut-off date in 1998 a new chance to lodge claims for restitution of land.

AFRA’s Programmes Manager Glenn Farred noted that although the legal victory is an important step in the right direction the overall issue still remains.

“The Department responsible for discharging this judgement is in urgent need of a coherent and comprehensive strategy that gives practical effect to the law. We hope that progress can now be made but we remain deeply concerned that the required action will be taken by the Department. AFRA, LAMOSA and other land rights NGOs and affected communities will continue to mobilise and monitor compliance with the judgement,” said Farred.

In 2015 the Land Access Movement of South Africa (LAMOSA), Nkuzi Development Association (Nkuzi), AFRA and three communal property associations representing the affected communities of Makuleke, Modderfontein and Popela brought a direct challenge to the Constitutional Court regarding the Amendment Act on the basis that Parliament and the Provincial Legislatures had failed to comply with their constitutional obligation to facilitate public involvement before passing the Amendment Act. AFRA is pleased with the judgement and hopes it will be a major stepping stone to processing the claims made under the original Restitution Act, and to ensure meaningful public engagement in the future.

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Labour tenants, Land News

MEDIA UPDATE: AFRA Returns to court in October for Special Master after negotiations break down

The Association for Rural Advancement (AFRA), represented by the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) in a landmark case on behalf of 19 000 labour tenants, will be returning to the Land Claims Court on the 10th October 2016.

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Labour Tenants from across KZN sing and dance as ANN7 broadcast the event live. Photo: Tom Draper

This historic legal case (Mwelase & Others v Director-General for the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform & Others) will set precedent as it seeks to have a Special Master appointed to oversee the full implementation of the Labour Tenants Act, twenty years after it was first promulgated by President Nelson Mandela. This is the long hoped-for resolution to a matter that has dragged on for several years, and has caused significant harm to the tens of thousands of labour tenants and their families whose rights have systematically been violated by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (the Department).

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Labout Tenants have no more patience for the ongoing delays. It has been 20 years since former President Nelson Mandela signed the Labour Tenant Act. Photo: Tom Draper

On the 17th May 2016, after extensive consultation, AFRA entered a period of negotiations with the Department and the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform. Continue reading

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AFRA News, Labour tenants, Land News, Uncategorized

A Hope Deferred

By Nokuthula Mthimunye

When Cabangile Sokhela married in 1992 she had high hopes for the family she would raise in the years to come. As is customary, she moved in with her husband’s family who lived on Faith Farm in Impendle, where they had been labour tenants
for many years.

As an activist for land rights she worked closely with AFRA to secure the dreams she had for her family and children. Like so many others, she and her family lodged their labour tenant land acquisition claim in 1996. She still recalls the dedication and commitment of her AFRA comrades like Mdu Shabane, currently Director General of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (the Department), who she remembers as soldier in the struggle for the rights of labour tenants.

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Mama Sokhela the dedication and commitment of her comrades like Mdu Shabane, currently the Director General of the DRDLR, who she remembers as a soldier in the fight for the rights of labour tenants. Photo: Tom Draper

Continue reading

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