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Agri SA welcomes Appeals court judgement

Agri SA welcomes Appeals court judgement


Organised agriculture has welcomed a judgement in the Supreme Court of Appeal which dealt with a land claims matter.

Agri SA said the case dealt with the important question of what constitutes just and equitable compensation when land is taken for land reform purposes.

The chairperson of Agri SA’s Land Committee, Ernest Pringle, said that the Land Claims Court had made an arbitrary deduction of R300 000.00 from the compensation amount in a matter, because the land was being taken for land reform purposes.

Pringle said that they had joined the proceedings as a friend of the court and argued that such a deduction was not allowed by the Constitution.

He said Agri SA had argued that market value should always be the point of departure when just and equitable compensation is calculated.

He added that the Constitution does not represent an outright rejection of the market based approach to compensation where land reform is concerned. “It simply provides for greater flexibility when establishing just and equitable compensation,” Pringle said.

Pringle said that regarding the approach adopted by the Land Claims Court, Agri SA had argued that the market value of the land owner’s agricultural land may not be arbitrarily reduced in a manner which is incapable of objective assessment.

“Such an approach is unfair, irrational and introduces an element of arbitrariness which undermines legal certainty on a subject, which is of critical importance to the agricultural sector and, by its potential impact on food security, on all South Africans,” he said.

Pringle said the Appeals Court “confirmed that the approach taken by the constitutional Court to the calculation of just and equitable compensation in the Du Toit v Minister of Transport case that was decided in 2006, was indeed correct.”

He said that Agri SA had achieved what it had hoped to get by getting involved in this matter.

“The Appeal court has now made it clear that no arbitrary deductions can be done merely because land was being taken for land reform purposes and that market value, being the only factor in section 25(3) that was readily quantifiable, should be the starting point in calculating just and equitable compensation, which may be more or less than the market value,” Pringle said.

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