The business organisation Sakeliga brought another PAIA application requesting the records of farms that are potential test cases for ‘just and equitable compensation’ for expropriation from the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform. This comes after an article in Rapport in which Rendani Sadiki, the acting Director General of the Department, admitted to the existence of a list of 139 farms earmarked for this purpose.
The Department denied the existence of a list of farms earmarked for expropriation without compensation in response to Sakeliga’s initial PAIA application. That is why Sakeliga has now brought a PAIA application to request the list of farms earmarked for expropriation at ‘just and equitable’ compensation.
“It appears that the Department wants to rely on the technicality that the list of 139 farms is not necessarily a list of test cases for expropriation without compensation, but rather of potential cases for expropriation below market value. Nevertheless, a list of 139 farms clearly exists and it is undoubtedly this list that senior ANC officials have referred to in recent weeks when they confirmed ANC policy to seek test cases for expropriation,” says Piet le Roux, CEO of Sakeliga.
“In our latest PAIA application we request the records of farms that are being targeted for litigation, where the state wants to test the constitutional definition of just and equitable compensation. We referenced this to include any property and specifically asked for the properties where state offers were rejected by owners. Furthermore, we wish to obtain the state’s valuations of these properties, the offers made by the state and any information as to court proceedings currently underway,” says Armand Greyling, Law and Policy Analyst at Sakeliga.
“Where expropriation for a public purpose is undertaken, it should be done within the framework of a law of general application and at market value. The Department’s attempts to construct test cases where expropriation below market value is condoned, differs from expropriation without compensation only in degree and not in principle. It is in the interest of not only farm owners, but also the general public in South Africa that the Department and the ANC abandon these expropriation attempts. It will be harmful to the entire country, and even more so should the Department continue to prepare in secrecy. The Department should make the list – which there is now no use in denying exists – available to us so that affected and concerned parties can develop a collective legal strategy,” Le Roux concludes.