State allowed to appeal rights ruling
Cape Town - The state has been granted leave to appeal a
North Gauteng High Court ruling in favour of Agri SA that some provisions of
the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) amount to the
expropriation of mineral rights.
Agri SA director of natural resources Nic Opperman said on
Monday that Judge Ben du Plessis had granted the state’s application. The judge
had also granted Agri SA’s application to lodge a counter-appeal.
The state must now draw up a record, after which both
parties will set out so-called heads of argument.
The test case brought by Agri SA concerns not only mineral
rights, but all aspects of property law.
It is expected that the case will come before the Court of
Appeal only in the fourth quarter of next year, around the same time as the
next ANC elective congress in Mangaung.
The state attempted to speed up the appeal process by
applying directly to the Constitutional Court for leave to appeal, but this was
refused as the case had not run the full course of the legal process.
In April, the high court found that the MPRDA had deprived
and expropriated the holder of an old order coal right of its property when the
MPRDA was enacted on May 1 2004.