ape Town – The issue
of compensating landowners who still hold old order mineral rights is to
On Friday Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said the
Constitutional Court would on November 8 hear oral arguments from all players –
Agri SA and Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu – to make a final decision
whether these landowners are entitled to state compensation.
Ever since the start of legal proceedings, these landowners
have pinned their hopes on the courts for compensation for what they claim is
legally their property.
The unhappiness among old order owners arose because, in
terms of the new Mineral Resources Act which came into force in 2005, the mineral resources minister became the "owner" of all unused old
order mineral rights.
Shabangu now also controls all so-called new order mineral
rights registered since 2005.
Because old order rights owners no longer have any say over
the minerals on their land, they argeu that they should be compensated for
"expropriation" of their rights.
The minister may now grant anyone who applies for mining
rights over a stretch of land – no matter who owns it – the right to mine those
A landowner (who also applies for such a mining licence) is
obliged to allow the licence holder onto his property and refrain from
interfering with mining activities.
Earlier this year the appeal court decided that old order
owners were not entitled to compensation from the state because, among other
things, minerals belong to the whole country and the minister has the power
to decide who should exploit them to the benefit of all of the people.
Agri SA applied for permission to appeal this decision in
the Constitutional Court.
The fact that Mogoeng had now said the Constitutional Court
will hear oral argument could be regarded as a first hurdle overcome by Agri
Had the Constitutional Court decided there was no merit in
an application to appeal, it would have been summarily rejected without any
Mogoeng ordered that written heads of argument be submitted
to him by Agri SA before September 11 and by Shabangu before September 25, in
preparation for the hearing of oral arguments.
The ultimate decision by the Constitutional Court will be
the final word on the issue as leave to appeal is not possible.
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