John Endres
2 minute read
18 Oct 2020
12:56 pm

Can SA trust municipalities to handle expropriation powers responsibly?

John Endres

The Bill has more than just land in its crosshairs as “property is not limited to land”. In other words, houses, factories, shares, licences and trademarks could all be subjected to expropriation without compensation.

Wheat fields ready for harvesting. Picture: iStock

The inter-ministerial committee on land reform has published the 2020 Expropriation Bill and public works minister Patricia De Lille is reported as proudly listing some of the government agencies which the new law will empower to expropriate property, namely “the president, seven ministers, all provincial premiers and all municipalities”. (In fact, there are even more agencies that have the power to expropriate.) Expropriation occurs when the state takes someone’s property against their will, usually with the justification that doing so is for a public purpose or in the public interest. It is a legal mechanism that gives authorities a tremendous...