How will the new land legislation as set down in the Green Paper on Land Reform affect you?
Lloyd Phillips of Farmer’s Weekly attended a presentation by Rob McCarthy to the Nottingham Road Landowners Association recently and subsequently wrote this article which appeared in the 27 February 2012 issue.
What the proposed land laws mean for you – Part 2
RECORDS OF LAND
Government is also seeking to gather records on state land, private land, communal land and foreigner-owned land. As regards the latter, the aim is to limit ownership to a number of years – the title will not be granted in perpetuity. I don’t think this is a good idea, because it will create uncertainty.
Another mechanism for achieving the Green Paper’s goals will be the Land Management Commission. This will be autonomous and accountable to the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, the 2012government and the public, and will investigate previous land reform transactions to determine if they were legally conducted.
My concern is that its mandate will not be limited to only investigating previous land reform transactions and that it could, in theory, start investigating landowners’ title to land purchases going back indefinitely.
Another proposal is the establishment of a Land Rights Management Board to manage aspects pertinent to land, such as the rights of landowners and land occupiers. It will include the police, rural landowners, government officials, land occupiers, farm workers and municipal officials, among others. This sounds good, but in my opinion it won’t work. There will be many conflicting views and achieving any sort of consensus on the way forward will be nearly impossible.
The proposed board will also communicate legal reforms to landowners and occupiers, and advise them on their rights, as well as provide them with legal representation when necessary. However, this positive aspect is undermined by the fact that government-sponsored legal representation is currently provided to labour tenants and other land occupiers only. Landowners have to pay for their own legal costs. I believe it is unconstitutional and unfair to have a situation where landowners are unable to recover their costs against a state-sponsored party because they don’t have the funds to pay for the costs order. Government isn’t liable for the costs, because it’s not a litigant in the case.
… to be continued. – Lloyd Phillips.
Contact Rob McCarthy on 033 266 6170, 083 274 1232 or email email@example.com
The views expressed in our weekly opinion piece do not necessarily reflect those of Farmer’s Weekly. Reprinted with permission.