Press Release: Prof Richard Levin, Special Master for labour tenants

09 December 2019

On Tuesday, 10 December 2019, Prof Richard Levin will be sworn in as the Special Master for labour tenants at the Land Claims Court in Randburg. This follows the Constitutional Court judgment in the matter between, Bhekindlela Mwelase and others vs Department of Rural Development on 20 August 2019 to reinstate the Land Claims Court order of 2016, to appoint a Special Master for labour tenants because of government’s failure to fully implement the Land Reform (Labour Tenants) Act.

AFRA welcomes Prof Richard Levin’s appointment. Prof Levin is an experienced public service leader with a demonstrated history of leading public service reform since the advent of democracy in South Africa. He was appointed as Director General of the Department of Public Service and Administration in 2004 and again in 2018, also since headed Economic Development, The Office of the Public Service Commission and the National School of Government. He has managed numerous Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development provincial offices in the past and has a proven track record of managing complex programmes. He was elected Secretary General of the African Management Development Institutes Network in 2017. He is a strong advocate of people-centred development and holds a PhD focused on Political Theory and Institutions from the University of Liverpool. The full extent of his wealth of knowledge and experience will be invaluable as he establishes the Special Master Office.

In accordance with the order, Prof Levin (Special Master) will be an agent of the court. His task will be to assist the court to realise the ultimate remedial goal, namely ensuring that the Land Reform Labour Tenant Act is fully implemented. He will operate between the Court, the Department and labour tenants. He will interact with all parties in a problem-solving way that a court cannot. He will mediate between the parties to avoid adversarial and time wasting litigation, and will work with the parties to achieve the remedy and reports to the court on the progress. He can also approach the court for additional assistance if required.

We would like to thank the Legal Resource Centre (LRC) and Labour Tenant representatives for all the hard work that has got us this far. We look forward to being an active role-player in the implementation of the Labour Tenant Project and will offer all possible support to the Special Master’s office and the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development.

The beginning of the new year will see the Special Master working with the Department to develop an implementation plan that will expedite the processing of over 10 000 outstanding land acquisition claims lodged by labour tenants. The plan needs to be delivered by 31 March 2020 and the court will reconvene on 30 April 2020 to consider and approve the plan.


Issued by the Association For Rural Advancement (AFRA)

For more information, please contact AFRA Communications Officer Nokuthula Mthimunye on 033 345 7607 / 076 754 7110 or email

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