Judge defers on land invasion issue

PREMIUM

The department of rural development & land reform and a local chief, have succeeded in convincing the Mthatha High Court that they have the right to bring a case about a group of people they claim illegally occupying land in Libode.
The department wants the court to interdict the people from occupying the land.
The department and Nkosi Mncedisi Ndamase headed to court on an urgent basis earlier this month, asking it to order the group to stop erecting structures on the land in Sibangweni village.
The group of “invaders” told the court that the department had no right to bring the matter to court because they were not the custodians of the land.
The respondents told the court that the land belonged to the late Milton Ntsadu in terms of Proclamation 26 of 1936 as read with the Communal Land Rights Act of 2004.
Judge Murray Lowe said it would seem to him that the department had the right to bring the matter to court.
The respondents, Andile Ntsadu, Thokozile Ntsadu, Vuyisa Mbiza and a Mr Qupe, had raised points which would form part of a process that addresses a technical legal point.
This was raised prior to getting into the merits of the case and relates to matters of jurisdiction. Judge Lowe said he would not deal with the question of whom the land belonged to.
“Ntsadu’s rights purportedly at least lapsed on his death in terms of Section 9(2) of the proclamation, his widows and/ or heirs having first claim to re-allotment of the said allotment 225.
“The [opposing] papers do not set out this latter event at all. This is however for another court to decide if locus standi is established and is not relevant thereto for present purposes.”
Judge Lowe then dismissed the respondents’ points until the matter could be heard on its merits...

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