The Congress of South African Trade Unions welcomes the Constitutional Court ruling today that the Land Claims Court was right to appoint a special master of the court to handle a backlog of claims, including those of 11,000 labour tenants seeking access to land and security of tenure and ,therefore, dismissed the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform’s appeal.
The government cannot continue to cry about judicial overreach when they are the ones who consistently ignore court rulings and fail the people that they are supposed to serve.
This intervention is a reflection on how the poor majority that was victimised by the apartheid regime is being failed by successive democratic administration. The department cannot continue to contest for power and authority that it hardly uses to help people.
It is an indictment on the incompetence of government across the board departments that even on the CPS/SASSA matter, it took a court ruling to force the Department of Social Development to do the right thing and avert a calamitous situation.
These departments should stop wasting taxpayer’s money trying to defend their ineptitude. They should focus on improving their performance and cleaning up the mess of wasteful expenditure and corruption that is being exposed by the Auditor General on an annual basis.
We agree with Justice Edwin Cameron when he said “In the view of the majority of this court, the land Claims Court directed itself properly and scrupulously to the facts for it in appointing the special master. These showed failing institutional functionality of an extensive and sustained degree that cried out for a remedy.”
Millions of South Africans remain landless despite the government allocating billions of rands towards the land reform programme. These people cannot meaningfully participate in the economy if the issue of their land claims are not being properly addressed.
It is a travesty that some of the most desperate and vulnerable people have been forced to wait for two decades for the government to do right by them
This is the same lackadaisical department that has a backlog of 72 000 land restitution cases going back to the 1990s.
This situation will become worse when Parliament eventually remembers to re-table the long-delayed Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill, which will reopen the land claims window for a further five years.
Again it took the Constitutional Court to instruct the 5th Parliament to process this bill and to do so correctly and once again, the government and parliament were found wanting in this regard.
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794