Land appropriation with compensation has some serious challenges to overcome

Land appropriation with compensation has some serious challenges to overcome

- Land expropriation with compensation is fraught with legal issues

- The question as to what happens to the debt associated with the land if it is expropriated is unclear and may result in land owners being responsible for debt they can no longer afford

- Due to these legal questions it may be years before the policy is brought before Parliament

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Now that the appropriation of land without compensation is being discussed and considered before it is tabled before Parliament, there are some serious issues which need to be overcome before it can become a viable means to transfer land.

One of the major issues is the bank's interest in the land. South African banks have heavily invested in the farming sector according to the learned that if a farmer's land is expropriated what happens to the debt that is tied to that piece of property, how will the farmer service the debt?

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Banks have said that they would continue to engage with the government of the expropriation of land without compensation.

Bulelwa Mabasa, director and land claims specialist at Werksmans Attorneys said that due to the legal issues which would need to be overcome it could take a number of years before the working model of land redistribution is agreed upon.

The FW de Klerk Foundation has expressed concern over how the expropriation of land without compensation would affect minorities who are protected by the Constitution.

According to AgriSA, black South Africans control 46% of the agricultural land and the current legislation in the country allowed for land reform.

“The problem with the constitution and land reform, which was what former president Kgalema Motlanthe pointed out in the overview report on land reform, is that the fault of the problems lies with the government."

“It lies with capacity and political will." Dr Theuns Eloff, executive director of the foundation.

The proposed changes to the Constitution would be the amendment of Section 25. This clause currently prevents the expropriation of land without compensation.

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The property which may be expropriated if the controversial policy is passed is uncertain. From the debates on the matter, it appears that agricultural land would be the main focus.

The Constitutional Review Committee is currently reviewing if there is a need for land expropriation without compensation. The committee will report back to Parliament by 31 August 2018.

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