The Expropriation Bill (the Bill) has been passed by the National Assembly and is currently on its way to the National Council of Provinces who may either accept the Bill as it is, or accept with changes, or even reject the Bill. Should it be accepted, then all that will remain will be the President’s signature and a date of commencement for there to be a new expropriation process.
But that is where things get interesting. According to the current version at clause 9(1)(a): “The effect of an expropriation of property is that the ownership of the property described in the notice of expropriation vests in the expropriating authority or in the person on whose behalf the property was expropriated…”
This raises the obvious question: does the Expropriation Bill intend to permit third party transfers? In other words – can there be a legitimate public purpose that involves transferring property from one private party to another? The sort of third party transfer envisaged here should not be needed by the state or the third party for the building of infrastructure such as railway lines and ports. The property should also not be needed for the public to mainly benefit such as environmentally sensitive wetlands.