Approval by Cabinet of the Office of Valuer-General
APPROVAL BY CABINET OF THE OFFICE OF VALUER-GENERAL
The FW de Klerk Foundation has taken note of the Cabinet’s approval of the establishment of the Office of the Valuer-General as proposed by the Green Paper on Land Reform.
The Foundation notes that one of the Valuer-General’s responsibilities will be to determine “financial compensation following expropriation under the Expropriation Act or any other policy and legislation which is in compliance with the Constitution”.
The Foundation would like to point out that in terms of section 25(2)(b) of the Constitution, “Property may be expropriated only in terms of a law of general application - subject to compensation, the amount of which and the time and manner of payment of which have either been agreed to by those affected or decided or approved by a court.”
Accordingly, the first step in any expropriation process must still be an attempt to reach agreement by those affected by the expropriation (the willing seller, willing buyer approach). Failing this, compensation must be decided or approved by a court.
Although the proposed Valuer-General may be able to ‘determine’ an amount for financial compensation in cases of appropriation, the courts would still have to decide, or approve, whether such a determination would be just and equitable within the framework of section 25(3).
The Foundation would like to reiterate the views expressed by Mr FW de Klerk on 27 May 2010 regarding the requirements for a fair and workable process of land reform:
- “Everything we do should be consistent with the letter and spirit of our carefully balanced and negotiated constitution.
- We need a comprehensive land reform audit. How much government land is available for redistribution? How much land has been transferred to black South Africans through normal sales? To what extent has the ‘willing seller, willing buyer’ principle actually failed?
- We need a rapid and effective approach to granting farmers in the traditional homelands proper freehold or leasehold title to the land that they farm.
- Urgent steps must be taken to improve the effectiveness of the government departments and institutions involved with land reform.
- We need genuine and effective consultation and cooperation between government and organised agriculture on workable approaches to land reform. Organised agriculture has proved repeatedly that it is willing to assist in this regard.
- We must not abandon the willing seller, willing buyer principle as the first option for land reform. We cannot afford a situation where South African citizens - simply because of their race - are forced to abandon farms which their families might have developed over generations.
- We must abandon ideological and racial approaches to land ownership...” that characterised the Green Paper on Land Reform.
ISSUED BY THE FW DE KLERK FOUNDATION
CAPE TOWN, 20 NOVEMBER 2012
Published in: FW de Klerk Foundation