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Expropriation Bill not draconian – experts

Publish date: 10 April 2017
Issue Number: 721
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: South Africa

Analysts have suggested that the expropriation Bill is not the draconian law property owners and investors may think it is, notes a Business Day report. Michael Evans, of Webber Wentzel, said that until now, land expropriation had been tackled in the expropriation legislation that predated the Constitution by two decades. ‘It is a draconian piece of legislation which confers extensive powers on the authorities to expropriate. Little protection is given to property owners,’ said Evans. He said the recent expropriation Bill was introduced as a complete replacement for the Expropriation Act. ‘The … Bill is vastly superior legislation in all respects and has been drafted in accordance with section 25 of the Constitution.’ Ben Cousins, chair of the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies and a senior professor at the University of the Western Cape, said the Bill should not scare away investors. ‘Of course, any law can be badly or inappropriately implemented, and the capacity of the state to implement laws and policies can vary a great deal … the capacity of the new office of the valuer-general – key to the implementation of the Expropriation Act – has not yet been tested,’ said Cousins.

Full Business Day report