JOHANNESBURG - The slow pace at which government is finalising land claims has come under the spotlight in the Constitutional Court.
Labour tenants who have lodged claims decades ago want a Special Master appointed to assist with the backlog, but government is digging in its heels.
In 2016, the Land Claims Court appointed a Special Master to assist the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform in finalising thousands of outstanding claims.
Government successfully appealed the ruling last year.
The apex court is the last stop for labour tenants on this issue.
The department argues a Special Master, who is answerable to the court and has powers over budgets and operating costs, breaches the separation of powers principle.
“The gateway to correcting the order of the Land Claims Court is to set aside the Supreme Court of Appeal order first,” said Advocate Ngwako Maenetje, counsel for the Department of Rural Development.
“The SCA order was justified, just on this issue of intrusion into the heartland of executive powers.”
The Association for Rural Advancement doesn't agree with that interpretation.
In the meantime, the wait for the labour tenants grows longer.
Judgment has been reserved.