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The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) has passed the Upgrading of Land Tenure Rights Act Amendment Bill and the Correctional Services Amendment Bill, during its virtual plenary on Thursday.

The Upgrading of Land Tenure Rights Act (ULTRA) Amendment Bill stems from two court judgments.

On the first finding, the Constitutional Court found that the ULTRA, 1991 (Act No. 112 of 1991 as amended) was unconstitutional as it discriminated against the rights of women to independently own property.

On the second finding, the court found and ordered that ULTRA’s Section 3 was inapplicable in the former apartheid homelands of Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei (formerly known as the TBVC states).

Section 25(6) and (9) of the Constitution compels Parliament to pass legislation that ensures that a person or community whose tenure is legally insecure as a result of past, racially discriminatory laws or practices, is entitled to either tenure that is legally secure or comparable redress.

The Bill was passed by the National Assembly on 1 December 2020 and referred to the NCOP’s Select Committee on Land Reform, Environment, Mineral Resources and Energy, for consideration and processing.

The committee advertised the bill on various platforms calling for public comment and submissions. 

“In response to the call for public comments, some of the submissions received were from the Royal Bafokeng Nation (RBN), Banking Association of South Africa, Social Justice Coalition, Corruption Watch, COSATU and the Land and Accountability Research Centre.

“Further to the written submissions, the committee also received electronic communications. Negotiating and final mandates with provinces were also held by the committee. Seven provinces submitted their final mandates in favour of the bill, one did not support [it] and one province did not submit,” Parliament’s spokesperson, Moloto Mothapo said.

Correctional Services Amendment Bill

The Correctional Services Amendment Bill seeks to amend the principal Act (the Correctional Services Act, 1998 – Act No. 111 of 1998) in order to align the definition of ‘Minister’ with the amended portfolios as assigned by the President.

The Bill further proposes amendments to the principal Act to align it with the Constitution with regard to the placement of a sentenced offender. This includes under day parole, parole and correctional supervision and to provide for the minimum periods to be served before becoming eligible for consideration for such release and placement, in terms of the parole regime applicable at the date of commissioning of an offence.

The two Bills passed will now be sent to the President for assent.


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