03 September 2020 – Press Release: Land Claims Court approves the implementation plan of the Special Master of labour tenants in Mwelase case

Press Release

03 September 2020

Land Claims Court approves the implementation plan of the Special Master of labour tenants in Mwelase case

Today, the Land Claims Court, in a hearing to consider the Implementation Plan prepared by the Special Master of Labour Tenants (SMLT) and in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reform, approved the implementation plan which details how the SMLT will supervise, monitor and oversee the functions of the Department in order to resolve outstanding labour tenant claims.

The LRC continues to represent the Association for Rural Advancement (AFRA) during this implementation phase of the judgment to ensure that the interests of the most vulnerable and marginalized – the labor tenants themselves – are upheld and protected. Following the Constitutional Court judgment in 2019 which restored the earlier Land Claims Court Order (LCC) appointing a Special Master for Labour Tenants, the LCC ordered that the SMLT develop an Implementation Plan detailing how his office intends to resolve the over 9000 outstanding labor tenant claims.

The Department initially objected to the first implementation plan submitted to Court by the SMLT in June 2020, and at the first hearing to consider the implementation plan, the LCC ordered that a revised implementation plan be
developed collaboratively between the Department and the SMLT. AFRA was also permitted to submit an affidavit detailing its comments and recommendations based on the initial implementation plan submitted.

The Revised Implementation Plan which was today approved by the LCC, shows that the recommendations made by the LRC on behalf of our clients have been fully considered by the SMLT and are clearly reflected in the Plan. At
the hearing today, Judge Meer commented that the suggestions made in the affidavit filed by LRC on behalf of AFRA were very helpful and that the Court and all parties rely on AFRA to “keep [them] on [their] toes.”

The LRC is pleased to continue to work with AFRA to ensure that the hard work and determination which went into achieving the Constitutional Court judgment appointing a Special Master, continues to serve labor tenants’ interests. The approval of the SMLT Implementation Plan is a step forward in the fight for proper implementation of the Labour Tenants Act to finally restore the land and dignity to thousands of families living on farms throughout the country.

Issued by the Legal Resources Centre
For more information, please contact:
Sharita Samuel (Durban Regional Director) Cell: 074 111 174/
Simone Gray (Attorney of record) simoneg@lrc.org.za