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Judicial notices of expropriation: the facts

Agri SA urges South Africans to read reports on land expropriation with the necessary caution.

“Agri SA wants to point out that this is not expropriation without compensation and there are legal remedies available to the landowner, which is apparently being exercised in this case,” said Annelize Crosby, Agri SA Head of Centre of Excellence: Land. “If the Minister has erred by expropriating before the validity of the claim is settled by the court, the court should assist the owners.”

The media on the weekend reported on expropriation notices which was given to owners of two game farms in the Limpopo province. There are reportedly land claims on the farms as well as a dispute on the amount of compensation offered. Negotiations on these claims have already begun in 2013. According to reports, a notice of intention to expropriate was given to Akkerland Boerdery in October last year. The owners objected to the expropriation notice of the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform at the time.

The Restitution of Land Rights Act and the guidelines for it is very clear that the Minister’s expropriation power can only be exercised if there is a valid claim under the Act.

“The Minister is bound by the provisions of the Administrative Justice Act and must consider all submissions made to her in such a process,” said Crosby. “If she does not, her decision can be reviewed by the court.”

Any dispute over compensations must be resolved by the court, but it does not necessarily have to take place before expropriation. According to the Expropriation Act, 80% of the compensation offered must be paid to the owner on the date of the expropriation. The owner may then approach the court to determine compensation. According to reports, the landowners are in the process of exercising their legal remedies.

Agri SA is however concerned about the formula used by the Valuer-General to determine fair compensation and believes that the formula should be tested in court.

Annelize Crosby
Agri SA, Head of Centre of Excellence: Land
C: 082 388 0017