Extension of Security of Tenure Amendment Act 2018 and commencement date

The President has published a proclamation determining 1 April 2024 as the date on which the Extension of Security of Tenure Amendment Act of 2018 will come into operation. The amendment provides several significant changes to Act 62 of 1997.

Application of the Extension of Security of Tenure Act

Broadly speaking the Extension of Security of Tenure Act applies to and safeguards people who, with the consent of the owner, live on rural farms and undeveloped land they do not own. It also protects people living on land that is encircled by a township or land within a township that is marked for agricultural purposes. (A township is a form of human settlement or administrative subdivision mostly urban in nature)

Who should take note (amongst others)

Owners and managers of establishments situated in rural areas (farms, game farms, nature reserves etc)

Copies of the Legislation

Both the Act No 62 of 1997 and the Amendment Act No 2 of 2018 are attached for reference purposes

Contents of the Amendment

  • Amends existing definitions and inserts new definitions

(eg – “dependant”; “family”; “occupier”; and “reside”)

  • Substitution of “subsidies” with “tenure grant” providing more secure long term tenure options
  • Additional requirements regarding the rights of occupiers
  • Strengthens and provides additional clarity with regards evictions 
  • Provides for the maintenance of dwellings
  • Provides for the erection of tombstones and allows occupiers certain rites
  • Provides for legal representation for occupiers
  • Further regulates the eviction of occupiers by enforcing alternative resolution mechanisms
  • Addresses the challenge of evictions carried out under unreasonable weather conditions
  • Provides for the establishment and operation of a Land Rights Management Board
  • Provides for the establishment and operation of Land Rights Management Committees

Brief Comments on the Amendment

As provided by Adv Ramasal (Legislation Specialist) during an address to the Land Reform, Environment, Mineral Resources and Energy Committee (NCOP)

Section 1 – insertion of the definition of “family” to address challenges that excluded some family members. The purpose is to provide additional protection to certain family members and dependents and to avoid any misunderstanding. The new definition will include the occupier’s spouse (customary, registered and unregistered marriages), children (including adopted children), grandchildren, parents and grandparents. The family members need to be dependent on the occupier and live with the occupier on the land.

Section 4 – substitution of “subsidies” with “tenure grant” to provide additional secure long term tenure options vs shorter term subsidies in current Act. This addresses two current problem areas in the Act – i.e. it will enable occupiers and former occupiers to acquire alternative accommodation and will compensate owners for providing accommodation and services to occupiers.

Section 6 – provides for the maintenance of dwellings of occupiers, allows for the erection of tombstones and allows occupiers and former occupiers to perform rites

Sections 9, 10 and 11 – relate to a mediation process regarding evictions. The amendment means that only lawful evictions will be permitted (only a court can approve an eviction). The amendments of Sections 10 and 11 provided for compulsory mediation before eviction can occur.

Section 12 – amendments to address the challenge of evictions carried out under unreasonable weather conditions. A court would determine what reasonable weather conditions will be.

Insertion of Chapter IVA – provides for the establishment of structures to assist and advise the minister with implementation and management aspects. Two new bodies will be created – LRMB (Land Rights Management Board)  and LRMC (Land Rights Management Committee).

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