Farmers group Agri SA has urged South Africans to read media reports on land expropriation with the necessary caution following reports on expropriation notices given to owners of two game farms in the Limpopo province.
“Agri SA wants to point out that this is not expropriation without compensation and there are legal remedies available to the landowner, which is apparently being exercised in this case,” said Annelize Crosby, Agri SA head of centre of excellence on land.
“If the minister [of rural development and land reform] has erred by expropriating before the validity of the claim is settled by the court, the court should assist the owners.”
City Press reported on Sunday that two luxury hunting game farms in Limpopo, Akkerland Boerdery, appear to be the first properties that would be expropriated without following a court process. The paper said the farm owners, who dispute the validity of the land claims lodged against their property, want R200 million for the land, while government has offered them R20 million.
Crosby said the Restitution of Land Rights Act and the guidelines for it were very clear that the minister’s expropriation power can only be exercised if there was a valid claim under the Act.
“The minister is bound by the provisions of the Administrative Justice Act and must consider all submissions made to her in such a process. If she does not, her decision can be reviewed by the court,” Crosby said.
Crosby said they were concerned about the formula used by the Valuer-General to determine fair compensation and believed that the formula should be tested in court.