New land law would take rights

2015-03-06 00:00

WITH its proposed expropriation law, the state will not only be able to take control of property, but also of all the rights that go with it.

The SA Institute for Race Relations has said the bill, currently before Parliament, as unconstitutional.

The 56-page bill gives the minister of Public Works the power to expropriate land needed in the public interest, subject to the payment of a fair price.

“The public purpose or interest could include the provision of accommodation or infrastructure by a state organ.

“Property being contemplated means land and moveable property associated with such land, which includes the rights associated with such land,” the document reads.

Chapter four of the draft law says that if land is demanded for expropriation, the state must issue a notice to the owner and publish it in the Government Gazette and newspapers.

The owner then has 30 days to submit objections in writing and indicate what he regards as a fair price.

The state can decide within 20 days thereafter whether to accept the price demanded. If it rejects the demand, it can propose its own price.

If no agreement can be reached within 40 days, the state must decide whether to expropriate or not, and inform the owner.

Advocate Johan Kruger, director of the Centre for Constitutional Rights, said they are studying the bill and will make submissions during the current parliamentary process.

He said the centre agrees in principle with Anthea Jeffery, head of policy research at the SAIRR, that the bill is unconstutional.

The DA has said it will oppose the legislation, and several agriculture bodies have said they would test its constitutionality.

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