Developing Criteria for the Identification of Suitable Agricultural Land for Expropriation and Redistribution in South Africa: Lessons Learnt from Namibia

Author: Tina Kotzé

ISSN: 1996-2193
Affiliations: BA (Law) LLB LLM LLD, Research fellow at the South African Research Chair in Property Law, Department of Public Law, Stellenbosch University
Source: Stellenbosch Law Review, Volume 32 Issue 2, 2021, p. 185 – 214


There has been a plethora of policy initiatives and academic debate focusing on how land should be acquired in South Africa for redistribution purposes and, if expropriation is to take place, at what value or for how much compensation. However, little attention has been paid to how land will be identified for acquisition in general, and expropriation specifically, for redistribution purposes. Therefore, the aim of this article is not to explore which approach is more suitable for specifically acquiring agricultural land, but rather how agricultural land should be identified prior to being acquired, specifically through expropriation, for redistribution purposes. To this end, the approach and criteria for identifying suitable agricultural land for expropriation as provided for in Namibias regulations to the Agricultural (Commercial) Land Reform Act 6 of 1995 may prove to be useful in formulating criteria for the South African context. The article concludes with the recommendation that for the sake of a transparent, procedurally fair and effective redistribution process in South Africa, objective, nonarbitrary criteria for identifying suitable agricultural land for redistribution purposes should be developed and provided for in regulations or policy. The development of criteria for identifying suitable agricultural land will provide the South African government with a useful tool in selecting agricultural land for acquisition and redistribution. The use of the criteria will not only contribute to a transparent, non-arbitrary and procedurally fair selection process, but will also assist landowners in determining the likelihood of their land being earmarked for redistribution.