Cabinet approves draft Expropriation Bill

2014-09-04 14:08

Cabinet has approved the draft Expropriation Bill and it will be tabled in Parliament, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said today.

The bill was meant to replace legislation dating from 1975 that gave the president, certain ministers, premiers and mayors the right to expropriate land.

“It’s unconstitutional in a number of ways,” said Deputy Public Works Minister Jeremy Cronin.

“Our Constitution describes expropriation as being appropriate for public purposes – the building of a dam, you know building a road, whatever ... it defines public interest including, among other things, for purposes of land reform and restitution, so public interest is obviously not in the old 1975 act.”

The draft bill created a uniform expropriation process to be used by all organs of state.

“Above all, what the property clause in the Bill of Rights says is that there needs to be a law of general application for expropriation,” Cronin said.

“Currently, the president, we think about eight or nine national ministers, all premiers and all mayors have expropriating rights. But what’s lacking is a clear description of an administrative process that would need to be observed.”

Until now, expropriating authorities had been unwilling to expropriate as a result of uncertainty over what constituted a fair and just process.

“Under section 25 of the Bill of Rights, compensation should be just and equitable but what should be taken into account among other things ... is the current use of the property, the history of the acquisition ... and the market value of the property,” Cronin said.

“There’s a range of criteria that would need to be taken into account by the offer that an expropriating authority makes to an intended expropriatee and the courts would also have to consider those considerations.”

The current version of the bill recognised the jurisdiction of the courts in determining the compensation due for expropriated property.

“If the expropriatee is unhappy with the final offer ... they have the right to go to court, but at risk,” Cronin said.

“The court might find they’re entitled to less.”

The government tried to get an earlier version of the bill passed in 2008 but shelved it after its constitutionality was questioned.

“My personal view was that it [the old bill] was going to be unconstitutional, because they tried to get around the issue of the right to go to court on compensation,” Cronin said.

Cronin said the bill was likely to be tabled in Parliament before the end of the year.

The bill’s approval followed months of talks at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), where all sectors, including organised agriculture, were present.

“All of those parties, certainly at Nedlac, were reassured that our intention is to be meticulously constitutional, to be very careful about ensuring that any expropriation has clear guidelines in terms of an administratively just process,” he said.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…

What is at first an exciting tummy-turning adventure stunt, quickly turns into a scarily bad idea caught on camera. Take a look:


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Should you date your co-worker?
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.