Parliament of South Africa.

IN a historical move on Tuesday, the National Assembly passed the Upgrading of Land Tenure Rights Amendment Bill.

The bill was necessitated by two orders of the Constitutional Court which found that the Upgrading of Land Tenure Rights Act (ULTRA), (1991) was, firstly, unconstitutional because it discriminated against the rights of women to independently own property and secondly, and that ULTRA’s Section 3 was inapplicable in the former apartheid homelands of Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei (formerly known as the TBVC states).
Parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said Section 25(6) and (9) of the Constitution placed an obligation on Parliament to pass legislation that ensures that a person or community whose tenure is legally insecure as a result of past, racially discriminatory laws or practices, is entitled to either tenure that is legally secure or comparable redress.
Mothapo said the bill has now been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development for consideration and processing.

“Public involvement processes facilitated by the Committee demonstrated that complex tenure insecurity in the communal areas, especially the former homeland areas and TBVC states, could not be addressed through Sections 19 and 20 of the Upgrading of Land Tenure Rights Act (ULTRA), which Clause 4 of the Bill sought to activate. A comprehensive legislation envisaged in Sections 25(6) and (9), that is, the Communal Land Tenure Bill (CLTB), is required,” said Mothapo.
“Having concluded its deliberations on the Bill the Committee made numerous amendments to the initial Bill and recommended that the NA adopt it with those amendments.”
The bill will now be sent to the National Council of Provinces for concurrence.

On 30 October 2018, the Constitutional Court handed down a unanimous judgment in the case of Matshabelle Mary Rahube v Hendsrine Rahube, declaring s2(1) of the Upgrading of Land Tenure Rights Act (112 of 1991) (ULTRA) unconstitutional.

This, after the High Court in Pretoria found that the section of the Upgrading Act was unconstitutional.

The high court said it was unconstitutional insofar as it did not provide the occupants who lacked ownership rights notice to make submissions before the conversion of tenure rights to ownership rights.

The judgment of the high court was brought before the Constitutional Court for confirmation of the unconstitutionality of the Upgrading Act.

Annemarie de Vos SC‚ representing Matshabelle Rahube‚ said Hendsrine Rahube premised his ownership of the family home in Mabopane on the deed of grant issued by the Republic of Bophuthatswana in September 1988 in his favour.

She said Hendsrine then became the registered owner of the property following a conversion of the land rights into full ownership in terms of the Upgrading Act.

Matshabelle Mary Rahube turned to the courts after her brother tried to evict her from the Mabopane home she’d lived in since the 1970s, for many years without him.

Now in a township within the Tshwane Metro, the house formerly fell into the Bophuthatswana bantustan whose administration in 1988 gave a deed of grant to Rahube’s brother – only men, as heads of households, could benefit from such upgrading of tenure rights to ownership.

In November this year, the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (National Assembly) adopted the Report on the Upgrading of Land Tenure Rights Amendment (ULTRA) Bill. 

The bill intends to provide for the institution of inquiries to assist in the determination of land tenure rights; to provide for the application to court by an aggrieved person for appropriate relief; to provide for the recognition of conversions that took effect in good faith in the past, and to provide for matters connected therewith.



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