Newsflash

Released - 23 May 2017

Dear Members

1. Approach from potential land purchaser

A few of our members have recently been approached by a Mr Richard Sibolas (or Sibolai), who purports to represent the Land Claim Commissioner. Mr Sibolas expresses an interest in purchasing land, on the open market in the area – presumably for redistribution to the land claimants.

It is quite possible that Mr Sibolas may approach more members and we remind you that LCAG was not formed to get involved in normal “buy/sell” land transactions. The LCAG has never opposed the purchase and sale of land through the long established mechanisms and, in fact, fully supports the “willing buyer/willing seller” principle. However, when dealing in land transactions with the government, it is worth bearing in mind some of the documented experiences from the past. These experiences include:-

  1. Negotiations for the sale/purchase of land are lengthy and draining in the extreme;
  2. Formal, legally binding agreements are frequently broken and settled purchase prices are subjected to constant review and renegotiation – always to the detriment of the seller;
  3. Following transfer, the payment for the land is frequently delayed, in some cases for years, and renegotiation of the purchase price appears to continue.
  4. Prices paid, when they are eventually paid, are poor.
  5. Legal costs (for the sellers account) often far exceed what would normally be expected in a typical commercial land sale transaction due to the complexity and extended time.

The message is that, if you choose to deal in land with the government (and it is your absolute right to do so), then you should be extremely cautious.

(This is not the first time such approaches have been made. The matter was dealt with at length in the newsletter of August 2014, which is available on the web site.)

We are also aware that there are one or two ‘business promoters/entrepreneurs’ working in the area. Typically such individuals keep an eye open for what they refer to as ‘opportunities’ or ‘deals’ (examples are crocodile farms and equestrian estates – but it could be just about anything!) and then attempt to put together a ‘transaction’ involving (for example):-

  1. A land owner, who wishes to sell;
  2. An investor, to provide the funds to purchase the land and provide seed capital for the business;
  3. An organization to manage the ‘opportunity’.
Although such ‘opportunities’ occasionally come to fruition they frequently take many, many years to finalize and, in the meantime, the landowner (who is hoping, and perhaps desperate, to sell) is kept ‘on-the-hook’ with various excuses for why the sale is taking so long to conclude. (We are aware of an equestrian estate ‘opportunity’ in Limpopo that has been on-the-go for at least 8 years. A number of people – including architects, attorneys and other professionals – have done work on the basis that they will get paid only when the ‘deal’ is concluded and the landowner/seller is still holding-on in the hope that the funds will materialize someday.)

2. Status of the exercise to get a court hearing

Our attorney (Peet Grobbelaar) has now fully updated himself on the particulars of our case and has communicated with the various other participating parties (the claimants, the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform and the other defendants – such as Transnet, Telkom, South African Nuclear Energy Corporation etc). The letter to the other parties is very specific, quite ‘strong’, and clearly shows that the tardiness of the claimant is to blame for the lack of progress. It details the events that have transpired over the years and the current status of the action. It also requests the other parties to make themselves available for a telephonic pre-trial conference at a mutually convenient date sometime between 22 May and 12 June 2017.

How many further pre-trial conferences are required, before the matter eventually gets to court, depends to a great extent upon the level-of-desire (of the claimant) to see the matter settled. One of the matters that has delayed progress is the claimants expert witness report. The following facts indicate the scale of the problem that the claimant has with this report:-

  •  May 2014. Claimant told the Land Claims Court that their expert witness needed another month to compile the report.
  • May 2015. Claimant stated they had encountered problems and advised that two additional experts were required.
  • July 2015. Claimant requested permission to inspect the claim area between 13 and 15 July 2015. (This visit took place – facilitated by LCAG.)

And that is the last we have heard. Quite obviously the claimants are having some real problems in getting anybody independent to substantiate their claim.

3. Invoices and statements for the new subscription of R3 600

It had been intended that invoices and statements for the new subscription of R3600 would be sent out at the beginning of April. Unfortunately our systems and internal processes failed us briefly. The result is that accounts for the new subscription are only now being dispatched. Please accept our apologies.

(In the March 2017 newsflash the reasons for the recent change of strategy were listed. The fourth reason listed was:- “our internal systems and processes, the committee, the legal team and the expert witnesses are not getting any younger and we are concerned about their continuing availability”!)

As a concession, to those members with financial constraints, the committee has decided to permit the new subscription amount of R3600 to be paid in minimum amounts of R450 per month, over eight months ending 30 November 2017. For those members without financial constraints, please pay the full amount upon receipt of the invoice.

 

The above matters are updates to the recent previous newsflashes and, for clarity, should be read in conjunction with them.
As a formality I should like to record that the opinions stated above are my own and are made without prejudice to any legal or any other position that may exist insofar as the Broederstroom Land Claim is concerned.

Groete

Leon Scholtz                                                                Brian Reilly
Chairman,                                                                    Committee member,
26778 Land Claim Action Group                                 26778 Land Claim Action Group

May, 2017

Our bank account details
26778 Land Claim Committee; Standard Bank; Van Der Walt Street PTA.
Clearing Code 010145; Cheque account 410776882
Please fax deposit slip to 086 656 3016
Please use your membership number as a reference.

 

The opinions expressed in this newsletter are my own and do not necessarily represent those of the Committee or of the appointed legal team.

 

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