In Pietermaritzburg on Friday the 11 June 2021 Justices Isaac Madondo, Jerome Mnguni and Peter Olsen (MMO) delivered a Judgement with much wider implications than only the administration of KZN’s Ingonyama Trust. They also had harsh words for Land Reform Minister Thoko Didiza, whose department deals with the Trust.
It is not without practical symbolism that the Pietermaritzburg High Court building where Justices MMO delivered their judgement, is adjacent to the 180-year-old Pietermaritzburg Deeds Office. Identifying, describing and recording rights in land has been the statutory administrative duty of our South African Deeds Offices for over 200 years.
Here are three key extracts from the MMO Judgment as reported by City Press.
- The Minister “failed in her constitutional obligation to respect, protect and promote the land rights of rural people living on land administered by the trust”.
- The Trust’s lease programme was in violation of the constitutional rights of residents, most of whom were the “true and rightful beneficial owners” under Zulu customary law.
- Didiza was ordered to adopt “appropriate mechanisms of protecting customary” land holders and for “proper processes” to be followed to reinstate and “allow for the granting of permission to occupy rights in terms of applicable KwaZulu-Natal legislation”.