Agri SA worried about expropriation bill

Johannesburg – Agri SA said on Friday it was not happy about the select committee on economic and business development approving the expropriation bill. 

“The definition limits compensable takings of property to instances where the State has acquired the property,” chairperson of the Agri SA agricultural development committee Ernest Pringle said. “The Constitution contains no such limitation.”

Agri SA spokesperson Thea Liebenberg said the definition of “expropriation” is still in the bill despite Agri SA’s attempts to have it removed or amended.

Pringle said provincial hearings on the bill were called at short notice and public participation was limited.

He said that in the Constitutional Court case of Agri SA against the Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi, the court found that there could be no expropriation in circumstances where deprivation does not result in property being acquired by the State.

“Only where the State acquires property for itself is it considered an expropriation.”

The Constitutional Court held that the taking of old order mineral rights by the State as custodian of the minerals, did not amount to expropriation and was not compensable.

Pringle said the definition in the expropriation bill is in line with this, but he believed this was a worrying factor.

“The expropriation bill itself contains no new powers of expropriation, any attempt to take agricultural land without compensation will have to come through the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries or land generally through the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform.”

Agri SA said it would fight any attempts in court and that, when it happened, the implementation of this law would be carefully examined.

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