The Land Claims Court was established in 1996.The Land Claims Court specialises in dealing with disputes that arise out of laws that underpin South Africa's land reform initiative. These include the Restitution of Land Rights Act, 1994, the Land Reform (Labour Tenants) Act, 1996 and the Extension of Security of Tenure Act, 1997.
The Land Claims Court has the same status as any High Court. Any appeal against a decision of the Land Claims Court lies with the Supreme Court of Appeal, and if appropriate, to the Constitutional Court. The Land Claims Court can hold hearings in any part of the country if it thinks this will make it more accessible and it can conduct its proceedings in an informal way if this is appropriate, although its main seat is in Randburg, Johannesburg, South Africa.
The Land Claims Court was established in 1996, it is a creature of the Land Restitution Act*. Its primary focus is dealing with land restitution/ land claims cases. The court deals with restitution cases in the form of referrals from the commissioner’s office or when they come directly through claimants or affected land owners. The main task of the court in this regard is therefore to adjudicate whatever legal issues contained in the cases and ensure that land is awarded to those who satisfy the statutory requirements.
Restitution Land Claims were initially lodged by way of completion of a land claim form before 31 Dec 1998. In line with the impugned 2014 Restitution Amendment Act , restitution land claims were lodged on site being in the Restitution Commission offices per province or at the Lodgement site / satellite office per province or at the lodgment centre (Mobile Truck/ Bus ) on the IT system using data captures & lodgement officers , which system would capture the provided details and later format an acknowledgement / acceptance letter to confirm receipt where all the request detail w\had been fully provided.
The court also deals with the Extension of Security Tenure Act* and the Labour Tenants Act*. These two acts were enacted by parliament to protect farm dwellers/workers from ill treatment and illegal evictions. The Land Claims Court was conferred with the jurisdiction thereof. However the various magistrate courts around the country also have jurisdiction in terms of the Extension of Security Tenure Act although their orders pertaining evictions are subject to automatic reviews by this court. Primarily, the court has to ensure that the rights of farm workers/dwellers are protected in that all evictions are done within the framework of the aforementioned legislation.
In carrying out its mandate the court therefore conducts hearings to adjudicate all matters related to the aforementioned legislation in various provinces, districts, cities and towns of the country.
Y S Meer, AJP
Acting Judge President: Land Claims Court
Ms N Mhlambi
Court Manager: Land Claims Court
* Restitution of Land Rights Act, 1994 (Act 22 of 1994)
* Land Reform (Labour Tenants) Act, 1996 (Act of 1996)
* Extension of Security of Tenure Act, 1997(Act 62 of 1997)