Newsflash

Released - 09 January 2019

Dear members

So we come to the beginning of another year. We embarked on this land claim journey in the latter part of 2004 and, the mathematicians tell me, we have now been involved in the process for a full fourteen years and have commenced on the fifteenth.

I recall how, right at the very beginning when we attended a meeting with the Claimants, their attorney told me that they would win the case – simply because we would never go the distance. Well, we are now well into round fifteen and are stronger than ever.  

However, there is a feeling that we may be nearing the end of the road, particularly as the Claimants expert witness report, that we fought so long and hard to obtain, was eventually filed in July.

The “latest situation”, “situation this-time-last-year” and the “situation further-back-in-time” of the key players in the saga, are as follows:-

1. Latest Situation (as at end December 2018).

1.1 Land Claim Action Group. (LCAG)
1.1.1) Ready to go to trial (Since 2006).
1.1.2) Application in hand (filed) against the State Attorney, in his private capacity, for non-compliance with the Judges instruction issued at the pre-trial conference of October 2017. It is to be hoped that the Court will hear the case soon.
1.1.3) Attempting to force a pre-trial conference in early 2019, with the trial itself shortly thereafter.

1.2 Claimants. (Mekgareng Community)
1.2.1) Expert witness reports filed. (In July 2018 – following legal action by LCAG to force compliance with Judge Meer’s instruction of October 2017.)

1.2.2) Claimants appear to be seeking ways to defer the trial – possibly as a result of:-

a) Doubts over the strength of their case;
b) New expropriation legislation in the pipeline; and
c) On-going developments in the ‘expropriation-without-compensation’ saga.

1.3 State Attorney
1.3.1) Must set-up next, probably final, pre-trial conference.
(The State Attorney was ordered by the judge to convene a pre-trial conference before the end of 2017. He has so far ignored this directive and LCAG has taken action against him – as you can see under point 1.1.2 above.)

1.3.2) It is possible the state attorney is attempting to delay the trial because of:-

a) A belief that the case is very weak;
b) A lack of resources; or
c) Having paid insufficient attention to the matter.

2. Situation This-Time-Last-Year (Pre-Trial conference in October 2017).

Judge Meer:-
2.1) Instructed Claimants to file expert witness report by end January 2018. (Now done; in July 2018, following court action by LCAG.)

2.2) Instructed State Attorney/Land Claim Commissioner to convene, before 15 December 2017, a pre-trial conference. (Still outstanding.) At this pre-trial conference:-

a) an agreement should be reached in respect of all portions of the claimed land which are deemed to not be restorable;
b) the issue of the plaintiffs insisting that more properties should be gazetted must be discussed;
c) the concerns raised by Telkom in respect of the feasibility of restitution should be discussed; and
d) the parties should agree on suitable dates for trial.

2.3) Gave approval for substituted service to those landowners who cannot be traced.

3. Situation Further Back In Time.

A “day-in-court”, on behalf of the LCAG membership, is awaited but it is largely up to the claimants to decide exactly when that day will be. Other than for a short time (mid 2015 to early 2017— when LCAG adopted a “stand-back-but-remain-alert” approach) LCAG has, for the past 14 years, been engaged in an almost continuous action to bring the matter to trial.

4. Fourteenth Annual General Meeting, Tuesday, 27 November 2018.

Our annual general meeting was well attended, with enough members present to easily form a quorum. Because of the two special general meetings, held during the course of the year, the AGM was able to concentrate largely on routine matters. Some “housekeeping” changes to the constitution, to ready LCAG for the (hopefully) looming day-in-court, were passed unanimously.

As ever, Amanzingwe Bush Lodge treated us like royalty. Our thanks to Dennon Speed and to the attentive staff for a wonderful post-meeting get-together, with complimentary boerewors rolls, under the stars at the Amanzingwe ‘Hide-Away’.

5. Sub-Committee to Follow-Up on POA’s and Large Debtors.

Following a suggestion at the AGM, a sub-committee has been formed to follow-up on POA’s and large outstanding subscription balances. A brief analysis of the membership records shows that just 50 members owe more than R552k of the R875k outstanding at an average of around R11k per member. A further 15 members owe around R95k at an average of over R6k per member. A small sub-committee are endeavouring, urgently, to contact each of the 50 members with a balance of more than eight thousand Rand, with a view to reducing the total value of debtors outstanding. If you receive a phone call, please treat it with understanding.

In the new-year the sub-committee will consider the possibility of also contacting those members with outstanding balances between five and eight thousand Rand.
If you are prepared to serve on the sub-committee please call Brian Reilly on 082 490 9756.

6. Latest draft of the expropriation bill.

On 21 December the Department of Public Works published, for public comment, the latest draft of the expropriation bill. Readers of the September 2018 edition of the LCAG newsflash, wherein the recent history of expropriation legislation in SA was detailed, will not have been surprised. The release of the new draft was fully expected and predicted.

Unfortunately some organisation, in complete ignorance of the facts, chose to publish a ‘scary’ social media statement that included the words “interestingly, it was done with no announcement, in the quiet, and just before Christmas”. 

Unsurprisingly, the totally unfounded implication that the release of the bill was somehow ‘sinister’, caused considerable concern amongst a number of LCAG members.

It is worth bearing in mind that, before the draft bill can become law, it must go through a number of steps:-
1) Sixty days for public comment;
2) Debate and approval by ‘national assembly’;
3) Debate and approval by ‘national council of provinces’;
4) Approval by the president.

And, throughout the whole process, we can fully expect the intense scrutiny of lawyers, opposition parties in parliament and other people interested in the constitutionality and ‘fairness’ of the new legislation.

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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

 

Chairman,                                                                             

 

26778 Land Claim Action Group.                                         

Brian Reilly

January, 2019

Scribe


Our bank account details
26778 Land Claim Committee;
Standard Bank; Van Der Walt Street PTA.
Clearing Code 010145;
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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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