Welcome To Forestry South Africa
Wednesday, October 16, 2019
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Agri SA Media Release on Expropriation Bill


4 Februarie/February 2016

Perspective required as Expropriation Bill is introduced to the National Assembly


After several months of deliberation in the Portfolio Committee on Public Works, the Expropriation Bill has finally been submitted to the National Assembly for consideration. The Bill has been shrouded in controversy since it was first released for comment and the latest amendments made by the Portfolio Committee have been no exception. It is within this context that Mr Johannes Möller, President of Agri SA, urges the agricultural sector to keep perspective and not to be swayed by sensationalist statements regarding the Bill.

"Expropriation, especially within the context of land reform, is a sensitive matter and if often confused with confiscation without compensation. Whilst Agri SA maintains that there are less invasive means to affect land reform, we also acknowledge that the state has an existing right to expropriate property to effect legitimate public aims. This right comes directly from the Constitution and is regulated by a number of different laws."

It is in this light that Möller believes the Bill should be treated on its own merits; "The Bill in question will simply regulate the procedure that must be followed as well as the manner in which compensation must be calculated. The actual power to expropriate already exists within different legislation. The broader debate on expropriation therefore does not only hinge on this Bill. Expropriations have been taking place in this country for decades."

The actual amendments made by the Portfolio Committee have been met with mixed reactions, as Möller explains: "We are concerned about the proposed definition of the term "expropriation" as it seems to limit the scope of what is regarded as an expropriation to those instances where the state acquires the property itself. Only when a government action is deemed an expropriation is the government obliged to pay compensation in terms of the Constitution. There may be instances where state actions deprive the owner of the use of the property to such an extent where it could amount to a de facto expropriation. If a court regards this action as tantamount to an expropriation within the context of the Constitution, the definition may be found wanting." Agri SA therefore believes that the definition should be left out altogether to avoid any possible constitutional challenges.

This being said, Agri SA also believes there are positive amendments in the revised Bill: "In calculating compensation, the trauma caused by the property being taken without consent can now be factored in if there are good reasons to do so. The expropriating authority will no longer be permitted to hold back 20% of the compensation in the case of a dispute and the owner will no longer be ‘deemed' to accept the state's offer of compensation if he or she does not approach a court within 60 days. After the amendments the parties can either go for mediation or the state must approach the court if they can't settle on the amount of compensation. Lastly, the Bill now states very clearly that there will be recourse to the courts in the event of any dispute on any matter relating to the application of the Bill." 

"The Bill has not yet been finalised and will go to the relevant Select Committee within the National Council of Provinces now", said Moller.  Agri SA will continue to lobby for a Bill that is fair and does not pose dangers to property rights and investment in property in South Africa," he added.

Issued by Agri SA, Directorate:  Corporate Liaison

Enquiries

Mr Johannes Möller,
President Agri SA,
082 647 8481

Me Annelize Crosby,
Adviseur Regs- en Grondsake,
Parlementêre Skakeling,
Agri SA,
082 388 0017

Mnr Theo Boshoff,
Agri SA Regsbeampte,
012-643 3400,
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