Thursday, 15 May 2008

Land bill faces legal challenge

May 15 2008 8:10AM

Michael Hamlyn

Cape Town - AfriForum, a pressure group allied to the right wing Freedom Front Plus, is threatening to take the expropriation bill to the constitutional court, because, they say, it breaches rights to property, the right to access to the courts, and to just administrative action.

Kallie Kriel its chief executive said on Wednesday: "The fact that in terms of the bill, the state will have the right to expropriate any property, at an amount which the state will determine itself, while the courts will only have the right to review the expropriation process followed, in effect amounts to the legalised theft of property by the state."

The bill will also undermine the authority and independence of the courts, he said.

In a letter to the portfolio committee on public works, which is shepherding the bill through parliament, Kriel said that the bill's attempt to take away the courts' authority to rule on the expropriation amount, contravenes article 25(2)(b) of the constitution.

He said that in his opinion, it is even more absurd to note that the bill would empower the state to expropriate any item or property (such as a house or car) in order to give it to someone who does not have such an item or property already, and on top of that will also be able to determine the price paid for it itself, as long as the "correct procedures" are followed.

- I-Net Bridge



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