‘Lease agreements could severely weaken rights of land occupants’

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The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution has warned that the move by the Ingonyama Trust  to allegedly force residents to enter into 40-year lease agreements could severely weaken the rights of land occupants.

CASAC and other pressure groups this week filed an application at the Pietermaritzburg High Court in KwaZulu-Natal, challenging the conversion of informal land rights to long term lease agreements by the Trust.

Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini is at the forefront of facing court action in the bid to stop him from forcing occupiers of land to pay rent of between R1500 and R7000 per month.

CASAC’s Executive Secretary, Lawson Naidoo says, “That process has resulted in the severe weakening of land rights that are currently held by people that occupy land that’s in the custody of the Ingonyama Trust. The actions of that taken to convert permissions to occupy and lease the agreements fly foul of Section 25 of the constitution and that is breech of the constitutional provisions. This has been raised in parliament in the portfolio committee on land and that committee requested the Trust to desist from converting ownership to lease agreements, but the Trust has ignored parliament. We have no option but to seek redress there because the Ingonyama Trust is acting in an unlawful manner.”