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Ruling opens state to restitution claims

Apr 28 2011 16:48 Sapa

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Johannesburg - Mineral rights holders, who forfeited their rights when the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) came into effect in 2004, are entitled to claim for financial loss suffered as a result of the expropriation, Agri SA said following a ruling by the High Court in Pretoria on Thursday.

The judgment handed down by Judge Ben du Plessis serves as a direction-giving ruling in terms of protecting property rights, the farming body's president Johannes Möller said.

"Agri SA's intention with this test case was to prove (the) expropriation of mineral rights... would oblige the state to pay compensation. This ruling confirms the fundamental principle in Section 25 of the constitution, namely that property cannot be expropriated without compensation."

Du Plessis found that "for the reasons stated the objects of the MPRDA could not be achieved without depriving mineral rights holders of their property and without vesting in the state similar rights. While not expressly stated, expropriation was one of the purposes of the MPRDA."

Ahead of the ruling, Agri SA had asked those who suffered financial loss to lodge claims by April 30. Agri SA had compiled a guideline for instituting claims for compensation, which was forwarded to all provincial agricultural unions affiliated with the organisation.

 
mineral rights  |  mining  |  mprda
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