Applications for labour tenancy were to have been lodged by the 31st of March 2001. The Department of Land Affairs (which is now the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development) (“the Department”) was thereafter meant to have served a Section 17 Notice on the relevant landowners to inform them of the application for labour tenancy which had been made against their property. This notice also requested certain information regarding the land upon which the applicants were residents.
The landowner was then meant to respond in writing wherein labour tenancy was either confirmed or denied. However, should the landowner have failed to respond timeously to the Section 17 Notice, the applicants would automatically be assumed to be labour tenants with their consequent rights.
The process of processing and finalising the claims has been slow despite a twenty-year time-lapse, and many labour tenancy applications have yet to be finalised. As a result, long-standing labour tenant claims have been Gazetted. Section 17 Notices can thus be expected once again, which will need to be responded to as before.
It is important to note that just because the claim has been made or Gazetted or a Section 17 Notice has been received, it does not mean that the applicants qualify as actual labour tenants. There is a misconception bourne even by the Department that when a labour tenancy claim is made, labour tenancy exists.
Many farmers can thus expect to receive a Section 17 Notice, which will require the appropriate response. We at McCarthy & Associates Attorneys are well-versed in such responses and in all matters incidental to labour tenancy as a result of our many years of experience in this particular field. Feel free to contact our offices should you have any queries or require assistance.