Constitutional Court Hears an Application to Challenge the 2014 Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Act

Yesterday morning the Constitutional Court heard an application challenging the constitutionality of the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Act 15 of 2014 (Amendment Act) which amended the Restitution of Land Rights Act 22 of 1994 (Restitution Act). The applicants are the Land Access Movement of South Africa (LAMOSA), Association for Rural Advancement (AFRA) and Nkuzi Development Association, which are LARC’s partner organizations with interests in land rights and agrarian reform. These organizations with three communal property associations (CPAs) challenge the constitutionality of the act on two grounds.

Firstly applicants argue that the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) and Provincial Legislatures 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 Amendment Act.  Secondly the applicants contend that section 6(1)(g) of the amended Restitution Act, which requires the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights to “ensure that priority is given” to existing restitution claims, is incurably vague. It is in respect of this second argument that the applicants seek direct access.

The respondents in the case are the National Assembly, National Council of Provinces, eight Provincial Legislatures, Speaker of the Western Cape Provincial Legislature, the President, the Chief Land Claims Commissioner, and the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform. There are also several respondent community groups, namely the Matabane Community, the Maphari Community, the Mlungisi and Ezibeleni Disadvantaged Groups and the Lady Selborne Concerned Group. The groups have interests in submitting new land claims under the Amendment Act.

Please click on the links below for more information on the case


The Court adjourned in the afternoon of 16 February 2016 and judgment was reserved.

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