A review of the Ingonyama Trust Act and other land-related laws is on the cards to ensure that women, in particular, enjoy land ownership rights.
This comes after the ANC National General Council (NGC) at the weekend decided on security of tenure, ownership of land by foreign nationals and equitable access to land for women, among other things.
In his closing remarks, President Jacob Zuma said: “The NGC resolved that there should be equitable access to land for women and that their interests be protected.”
Zuma also said land rights for people in communal areas should be formalised so that security of tenure was secured and such land can have commercial value.
“To ensure against the risk of people becoming landless in this process, a limitation clause in the title deed giving the State the right of first refusal must be secured,” he said.
ANC national spokesman, Zizi Kodwa, said although the NGC resolutions were not necessarily targeting the Ingonyama Trust, the issue was how to make the agrarian and land reform protect women’s rights.
“We realise that some legislation does not allow women protection on land ownership. We are to review the laws to empower women to own land,” Kodwa said.
He said the government, through the Rural Development and Land Reform Department, was expected to review many of the existing land-related laws. This included the Ingonyama Trust Act, which administers 2.8 million hectares of erstwhile KwaZulu homeland land.
“Rural Development and Land Reform will have to start a process to engage stakeholders under the jurisdiction of the Ingonyama Trust. That would include the KwaZulu-Natal government,” Kodwa said.
The Ingonyama Trust’s, Judge Jerome Ngwenya, said there was nothing unusual in the ANC proposal and every law was subject to a review.
He said the trust had started with its own review process about three years ago.
Ngwenya said the minister of Rural Development and Land Reform would have a broader view and be better placed on what other issues to be reviewed.
Ngwenya also said the trust’s law did not forbid women from owning land.
Kodwa said a report on the progress on the law review was expected at the 2017 national congress.
The proposed law review comes at a time when the government is still at the initial stages of developing a new law to regulate communal law after another was set aside by the Constitutional Court a few years ago.
The proposed review also comes at a time when the Mandeni Municipality took the trust to court three months ago over unpaid rates for the land it administers in its jurisdiction despite the Constitutional Court ruling about two years ago that the Ingonyama land was part of state land.