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[Summary of Arguments] The Rights of Labour Tenants Tested in the Land Claims Court

A Long Wait – Not Yet Over

The Association for Rural Advancement, on behalf of 19 000 labour tenants, has finally been able to place its arguments for the appointment of a Special Master to oversee the processing of outstanding labour tenant application before Judge Ncube at the Land Claims Court.

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The court proceedings took place on the 10 & 11th October 2016, as a small group of twenty labour tenants gravely watched and listened to the proceedings, the outcome of which will directly affect their future and those of the many thousands of labour tenants still left in limbo. The case for AFRA and the labour tenant claimants was presented by Advocate Alan Dodson and the Legal Resources Centre’s team, who have worked on the case for more than three years. Advocates Notshe and Jansen represented the Minister and the Director General of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform respectively.

The AFRA team and labour tenants present were visibly relieved that they have had their day in court, after many years of delays, missed deadlines and squandered opportunities. Continue reading

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[Press Release] Labour Tenant Case Returns to Court next week!

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Labour Tenant Case Returns to Court next week!

Labour tenants, supported by AFRA and represented by the LRC, will return to court on the 10th – 11th of October 2016 to once again argue for the appointment of a Special Master to ensure the implementation of the Labour Tenants Act, as well as have the application for an interdict against the Minister heard.

The landmark case on behalf of over 19 000 applicants and 100 000 dependants has been an ongoing battle to ensure that the (Land Reform) Labour Tenants Act of 1996 is implemented. 20 years later, the lack of implementation of the Act has meant that Labour Tenants have continued to live with insecure tenure, further diminishing their rights due to the inaccessibility to basic services because of lack of title deeds.

On the 17th May 2016, after extensive consultation, AFRA entered into a time bound period of negotiations with the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (the Department) and the Minister of the Department. The terms of that order, as well as AFRA’s concerns regarding aspects of the negotiations, were tabled before court. The agreement to negotiate was then made an order of court, with the aim of agreeing a Memorandum of Understanding before the end of June 2016. If those negotiations broke down, the parties would then return to court.

After a constructive start to negotiations, AFRA was hopeful that a more beneficial outcome for labour tenants could be achieved through a mutual understanding and partnership. However, the negotiations broke down after Minister Gugile Nkwinti made a unilateral decision to announce his intention to convene a “National Forum of NGOs” to determine terms of reference in respect of a programme for farm dwellers (labour tenants and occupiers) in the national press on the 10th June 2016. Continue reading

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