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 4
The current ESTA makes it difficult for a landowner to evict someone, and the new ESTA even more so. A landowner will go to court only as a last resort. The best way to deal with an eviction is to find a win-win solution – meaning the landowner needs to find suitable alternative accommodation for the person or family being evicted.
Fortunately, there are some solutions to the problems raised by the ESTA. If a farmer provides suitable alternative accommodation, with title for this accommodation, the farmer will be entitled to subsidy funding from government to the value of R84 000 per household. In many cases where farmers have taken this route, they’ve been able to recover much of their expenses.
But accessing subsidies is a very tedious and time-consuming exercise. And subsidies aren’t available where land occupiers don’t want to move to formal, structured housing and would rather move to communal land.
‘Suitable alternative accommodation’ is the standard of accommodation which the occupiers will expect if they move off the property, IE occupiers will expect accommodation which is equal to or better than the standard of accommodation which they already have on the farm. Most land occupiers, labour tenants and employees are aware of their rights and will demand this. If employees live on the property, landowners must ensure that they have a properly regulated employment and accommodation relationship. The alternative is for employees to come to work in the morning and go home again in the evening. In cases where employees have to stay overnight, their employment contracts must be linked to accommodation contracts which clearly spell out the rights of both parties.
So there are solutions to the problems likely to be raised by the proposed new acts. Use these solutions and don’t ignore the problems; they will not go away. Things will just get more difficult if you don’t deal with them now. – 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.