Ministers to meet over Restitution of Land Rights Amendment

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Michael Masutha says he will meet with the Minister of Rural Development and Land Affairs, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, to accelerate the revised Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Act, as directed by the Constitutional Court. 

The Minister said this ahead of the debate of the Budget Vote of the Office of the Chief Justice and Judicial Administration in the Old Assembly Chamber on Wednesday afternoon. 

“The envisaged amendment act seeks to create a separate Land Claims Court with its own judges,” the Minister said. 

He said the engagement with Minister Nkoana-Mashabane would also seek to find solutions for the requisite financial support to Legal Aid South Africa with regard to its representation of eligible litigants in land restitution matters. 

Focus on bolstering human resource capacity 

The Minister said, meanwhile, that the capacitation of the Office of the Chief Justice remains one of the office’s strategic goals. 

He said over the 2017/18 financial year, the Office of the Chief Justice has steadily worked at increasing the department’s human capital. 

In this regard, he said that the department had 1 898 funded posts, compared to 1 679 from the previous financial year. 

“There has been a steady increase in the personnel of the Office of the Chief Justice. As at 31 March 2018, the department had 1 898 posts. These include staff for the Mpumalanga High Court. 

“The difficult economic situation and budget ceilings on the compensation of employees continues to be a challenge,” he said. 

Advancing the transformation of the judiciary 

The Minister said, meanwhile, that the Judicial Services Commission has consistently sought to advance the transformation of the Judiciary, which relates to racial and gender representation. 

“Through the Aspirant Judges Programme and similar training programmes, the South Africa Judicial Education Institute is providing a platform through which an adequate pool of judges can be sought, addressing transformation of the judiciary. 

“To this aim, the funds allocated for judicial training of judicial officials has increased from R41 million to R52 million for the 2018/19 financial year,” he said. 

Meanwhile, the Minister said Cabinet has appointed an Inter-Ministerial Committee to undertake research and advise Cabinet on an appropriate court administration model. 

“The Inter-Ministerial Committee has already done extensive work in this regard and I am optimistic that this important work will be accomplished in this financial year. The report and recommendations of the Inter-Ministerial Committee will also take into consideration the views of the judiciary on this matter,” he said. –