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Card image 01 September 2017 Journal of Public Administration, Volume 52 Number 3, Sep 2017, p. 508 - 519

The role of government in expediting land expropriation: Reshaping the future of land reform

In an effort to realise its constitutional obligation towards land reform, it is crucial for government to ensure that land redistribution is expedited and regulated within the proper legislative frameworks. This article analyses the current legal framework regulating land expropriation in South Africa and takes a closer look into the link between expropriation law and administrative law and the role that each plays in the land reform process. The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996 highlights the State's obligation to redress the land inequalities of the past. However, the current Expropriation Act, which is the key legislative instrument governing expropriations in South Africa, predates the expropriation mechanism provided for in Section 25(2) of the Constitution and appears to be in discord with the highest law of the land. The author highlights the inconsistencies that exist within the current legal framework and argues that as long as this discord continues to exist, government will continue to grapple with the land issue and will find it difficult to restore justice to the majority. Crucially, this article searches for possible solutions as to how government can expedite the land redistribution process. As a way forward, the author suggests changes to the current legal framework that could have the potential to improve policy fit and support better planning and procedure within the framework of expropriation law. In this regard, the legal position pertaining to payment of compensation in expropriation matters is highlighted and a recent landmark Constitutional Court decision is analysed as a means to advocating a proper legal framework that could solve the problem of the sluggish land redistribution process.

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A project of Phuhlisani NPC supported by Absa. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. International License.