Newsflash

Released - 24 April 2019

Dear members

1. Wonderful News

During the pre-trial conference on 11 April (the day following the Special General Meeting) the parties agreed that the trial date should be set for the last two weeks of March 2020.

This is a truly important milestone. It will lead us to the ultimate goal which, of course, is to win the case.

So, eleven months until the trial. Eleven months in which to collect another 90 (approximately) POA’s and eleven months in which to raise (approximately) nine hundred thousand Rand. Much to do; for all of us.

2.  Special General Meeting (SGM), Wednesday 10 April 2019.

The SGM was, once again, well attended. The business of the meeting included presentations covering:-

  • Progress since the annual general meeting of 27 November 2018 and, particularly, the successful action against the State Attorney;
  • The pre-trial conference scheduled for 11th April 2019; and
  • The financial situation. The projected shortfall in funds was explained, and the reason for calling for an additional subscription of R2500 was justified.

After considerable discussion, the motion to call for an additional subscription of R2500, was approved unanimously. Invoices and statements will be despatched shortly.

Once again we should like to thank Amanzingwe for hosting the meetings of LCAG. The buffet following the meeting, at the modest price of R80 ahead, was excellent.

3. Status of the exercise to get a court hearing.

You will recall that, at the last pre-trial conference on 12th October 2017, Judge Meer directed that the State Attorney should convene a further pre-trial conference before 15th December 2017. As a result of him failing to organize this pre-trial conference, LCAG took legal action and, on 25th March 2019, costs were awarded against him in his personal capacity. It should be noted that State Attorney will be held personally liable for these costs which, it is estimated, could well exceed R60 thousand!

In addition to winning the cost order the key objective, of spurring the State Attorney to organise a pre-trial conference, was accomplished. (This conference, organised at fairly short notice for 11 April, shows what the State Attorney can achieve when he is given sufficient prodding!!)

At the pre-trial conference on 11th April, it was agreed that the last two weeks of March 2020 should be set aside for the trial.  Also discussed were:-

  • Which properties are feasible for restoration and which properties are not feasible to restore; and
  • The gazetting of properties (the service of notice, by alternative means such as newspaper advertisements, on those landowners who have so far been uncontactable).

4. Power of Attorney (POA)

Once again it is important to note that you cannot be represented by LCAG if your POA is not available or is out-of-date. 

Provided LCAG has your POA, LCAG WILL represent you, even if your subscription is in arrears.

The status of your POA is shown, top right, on your most recent account statement.

Please talk to your immediate neighbours and ensure that they are up-to-date with their POA’s.

5. Finances and additional funding.

Peet Grobbelaar has been asked for an update on estimated legal costs but, pending this update, it is estimated that there is a shortfall of some R900 thousand after taking account of the balances in the bank and the money market. Of this shortfall, it is hoped that some R100 thousand will be received from existing subscription debtors and that a further R375 thousand will come from the new subscription of R2500 per member. This will still leave a ‘hole’ to be filled of around R425 thousand.

The request that members make loans to LCAG has yielded some R35 thousand, and it is still hoped that further funds will flow from this source.

The ‘Crowdfunding’ exercise, mentioned in the last newsletter, has not progressed as well as had been hoped due, primarily, to a lack of any practical experience in such matters. If anybody has any experience of ‘Crowdfunding’, particularly in writing the motivation, they are asked to please contact the treasurer, Pedro Carvalho, on 082 337 0203 urgently.

During the SGM on 10th April, several members proposed that alternative fundraising exercises should be explored and introduced. The Committee would welcome any individual, or group, who would like to form a sub-committee that has the raising of funds by alternative methods as an objective.

Any volunteers should please contact the chairman, Leon Scholtz (083 463 3951) who will convene a meeting to set-up a framework.

The raising of the necessary funds is absolutely vital. Without sufficient funds, the committee will be forced to withdraw from the case, and this may open LCAG to cost orders from the Claimants, the Land Claim Commissioner and the State Attorney who might be particularly vengeful given the cost order that has just been secured against him (refer to 3 above).

We intend to provide regular updates on the financial situation to ensure that this critical matter is not neglected.

6. Expropriation and expropriation-without-Compensation

An article, written by Kyle Cowan and entitled “Land reform panel recommends sweeping changes to current compensation model in draft report”, appeared in News 24 on 19th April 2019. The following are summarised extracts from the article:-

The draft report (note) of the Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture has recommended:-

  • President Cyril Ramaphosa establish a "compensation policy" to guide how expropriation without compensation should be implemented.
  • Sweeping changes to current land reform and restitution mechanisms and systems, which have been plagued by slow progress and corruption.
  • The establishment of a new land reform agency which should absorb land reform functions from the department of rural development and land reform and the department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries.
  • A detailed land audit be conducted to determine fully the ownership and usage of land;
  • A land reform fund, capitalised by public and private sectors, be established. The fund should be managed by the Land Bank;
  • A new White Paper on the land policy be drafted to guide land reform processes;
  • That land reform should take a targeted approach based on just and equitable compensation.
  • The Committee on Restitution of Land Rights must prioritise settlements of older claims submitted by the first deadline of December 1998.
  • That claimants should be offered a choice between redistribution or tenure security options, which could circumvent requirements to prove past dispossession.
  • That, with regard to the identification of beneficiaries:- the majority of the available budget be allocated to farm dwellers and labour tenants as well as subsistence farmers and smallholder farmers producing for market and that medium to big commercial farmers should be second in line, as they could contribute their own capital and have financing leverages available to them.
  • That while land reform is a state-funded initiative, the private sector should contribute in terms of co-financing.
  • The establishment of a single repository and platform to access information on land in South Africa, including ownership, usage and viable uses;
  • A land tax inquiry with the aim of reviewing national policy or regulations to discourage retention of large, unproductive land holdings;
  • Removing the mandate for Rural Development from the Department and relocating it within the Presidency;
  • The amendment of the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act and Marine Living Resources Act to recognise customary rights exist alongside rights awarded under these acts. Communities directly affected must be given an opportunity to consent before any change is made to their land rights for mining, commercial farming or conservation. 
  • Policy shifts (changes?) to use the Constitution to expropriate land without compensation, but says this need not be applied in every case.
  • The establishment of a compensation policy to determine how and when expropriation without compensation should be applied.
  • That the proposed compensation policy should outline a range of compensation from zero, to minimal compensation to substantial and market-related compensation.
  • That property owners who bought land after 1994 should not be treated the same as those who inherited property. Similarly, institutional landowners who own large swathes of property should not be treated in the same manner as families whose land is their primary livelihood.
  • That the Expropriation Bill (gazetted in December 2018) be referred to the Constitutional Court for confirmation that it is consistent with the constitution. This bill identified five types of property that could be expropriated without compensation:
    • Abandoned property;
    • Property owned by state-owned entities/corporations;
    • Land held purely for speculative purposes;
    • Land into which the state has already invested more than its value; and
    • Farms or portions of farms with labour tenants. 
  • That key indicator must be developed to monitor and evaluate the success of land reform - this includes the development of a national land classification system and the determination of what constitutes successes.

The full article by Kyle Cowan can be found at:-
https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/land-reform-panel-recommends-sweeping-changes-to-current-compensation-model-in-draft-report-20190419

As a footnote, it is worth recording that the panel (Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture) was initially given six months to complete its work and was due to have submitted its final report on March 31, 2019. It is still outstanding.

__________________o0o_________________

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

April, 2019

Scribe

                                                                                                                             
Our bank account details
26778 Land Claim Committee; Standard Bank; Van Der Walt Street PTA.
Clearing Code 010145; Cheque account 410776882.
Please email the deposit slip to accounts@broederstroomlandclaim.co.za.  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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