SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

 
vol.18 issue1When does state interference with property (now) amount to expropriation? An analysis of the Agri SA court's state acquisition requirement (Part I)Leveraging traditional knowledge on the medicinal uses of plants within the patent system: The digitisation and disclosure of knowledge in South Africa author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

PER: Potchefstroomse Elektroniese Regsblad

On-line version ISSN 1727-3781

PER vol.18 n.1 Potchefstroom  2015

http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/pelj.v18i1.03 

ARTICLES

 

When does state interference with property (now) amount to expropriation? An analysis of the Agri SA court's state acquisition requirement (Part II)

 

 

EJ Marais

BA LLB LLD (Stellenbosch University). Post-doctoral research fellow, University of Cape Town. E-mail: ejmarais@uj.ac.za

 

 


SUMMARY

Section 25 of the Constitution provides two ways in which the state may interfere with property rights, namely deprivation (section 25(1)) and expropriation (section 25(2)). As only the latter requires compensation, there is an incentive for property holders to label any infringement with their property as expropriation in the hope of being compensated for their losses. It is therefore essential to have a principled distinction between deprivation and expropriation, especially given the danger that uncertainty in this regard can hold for legitimate land reform initiatives, which often entail severe limitations on property.
This contribution attends to Agri South Africa v Minister for Minerals and Energy 2013 4 SA 1 (CC), where the Constitutional Court recently revisited this distinction and held that the distinguishing feature of expropriation is that it entails state acquisition of property. Without state acquisition the interference can (at most) amount to deprivation. Unfortunately, viewing state acquisition as the "key requirement" for expropriation is problematic. Firstly, it ignores the true nature of this feature in that it is only a consequence of a valid expropriation rather than a pre-requisite for it – at least in terms of pre-constitutional law. It is therefore inaccurate, concerning both pre- and post-constitutional expropriation case law, to regard acquisition as an indispensable requirement for expropriation. Secondly, limiting the constitutional property inquiry to whether or not the state acquired property appears inadequate as a means of solving difficult cases where the state acquires property pursuant to infringements like taxation and criminal forfeiture. As both these examples result in state acquisition, there must be another explanation of why they do not amount to expropriation.

Keywords: expropriation; deprivation; section 25; property clause; state acquisition; constitutional property law; Agri SA case


 

 

1 Shortcomings of the state acquisition requirement

1.1 Introducing the problems

In Agri South Africa v Minister for Minerals and Energy1 (Agri SA) the Constitutional Court recently revisited the distinction between deprivation (section 25(1)) and expropriation (section 25(2)) and held that state acquisition is the key element that distinguishes these two forms of infringement. This finding has important implications for how courts will approach future cases based in the property clause, especially in terms of (i) the meaning and role of state acquisition as well as (ii) whether it is capable of coherently distinguishing between these two types of state interference in all instances.

Part I of this article investigates the first question and indicates that the meaning attributed to state acquisition in Agri SA is largely similar to how it was construed in pre-constitutional law.2 Acquisition relates to the ownership of the affected property or the right to exploit it, at least when the impugned statute has a transformative purpose.3 However, concerning the role of state acquisition there was a definite shift away from pre-constitutional expropriation law, where acquisition seems to have been merely a general hallmark (or consequence) of expropriation rather than an indispensable requirement (or cause) for it.4 In Agri SA Mogoeng CJ ruled that state acquisition is the "key requirement" that distinguishes expropriation from deprivation.5 Without state acquisition there can (now) be no expropriation of property.

It is trite that most expropriations result in state acquisition and that it is therefore a useful factor for establishing whether or not expropriation occurred.6 However, there are at least two problems with viewing acquisition as the defining characteristic that distinguishes expropriation from deprivation. Firstly, the judgments7 on which Goldstone J relied in Harksen v Lan8 (Harksen) provide dubious support for viewing state acquisition as the central characteristic of expropriation.9 Secondly, the distinction between deprivation and expropriation is simply not so straightforward as to depend only on the effect of the infringement.10 Against this background Part II of this article elaborates on the second question, namely whether or not state acquisition is able to properly decide all expropriation questions. It starts by setting out three types of cases that reveal the shortcomings of this "requirement." In terms of the first scenario (section 1.2), which concerns legislation that explicitly authorises expropriation, it is argued that state acquisition is (still) only a consequence of a valid expropriation and not a pre-requisite for it. The second instance (section 1.3) demonstrates the inadequacies of only focusing on the effect of a property interference for the purpose of categorising it as either deprivation or expropriation. The third situation (section 1.4) concerns the anomalies of state acquisition in the context of legislation which primarily has a regulatory objective, but which also provides for expropriation under certain circumstances. Section 2, in turn, investigates how a purpose-based approach towards the expropriation question - as set out in Harksen and informed by Australian constitutional property law11 - could avoid the fallacies of the acquisition requirement prevalent in each of the scenarios discussed in section 1.

1.2 "Expropriation-proper" cases

The first scenario involves situations where the state expropriates property pursuant to legislation that expressly authorises expropriation. These so-called "expropriation-proper" cases show why it is tempting to link the expropriation and acquisition questions. The paucity of judgments and academic literature concerning the meaning of expropriation in both the pre- and post-constitutional eras unfortunately complicates an investigation into this matter. Still, I believe that one of the few recent decisions on expropriation, namely eThekwini Municipality v Spetsiotis12 (Spetsiotis), supports my argument.

In Spetsiotis the state (in the form of the eThekwini Municipality) was the owner of certain immovable property which it leased to the respondent. In the light of the upcoming 2010 FIFA World Cup the applicant wished to develop the property for purposes related to South Africa's hosting this event. It therefore wanted to expropriate the respondent's lease, which was to expire only in 2014, so as to have unburdened use of the premises. Although the case did not concern the meaning of expropriation,13 it presents a useful example for the present purpose.

The KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban held that the state had followed the correct procedure to expropriate the respondent's lease14 and that the purpose behind the expropriation was indeed a public purpose. Consequently, the respondent's lease was validly expropriated and he had to vacate the premises. It was undisputed that the empowering statute15 authorised expropriation in the prevailing circumstances.

When the state expropriates property in instances like Spetsiotis it essentially extinguishes the affected right upon expropriation, after which it has unburdened use and enjoyment of its property. Upon expropriating the lease the state's ownership of the land reverted back to its full and unburdened extent, as its entitlements of use and enjoyment were no longer limited or subtracted by the presence of the long-term lease.16 What the state acquired under these circumstances can therefore be described as the correlative of what the respondent lost.17 Consequently, the state acquisition requirement laid down in Agri SA accommodates expropriation-proper cases such as this, since the state (re)acquired the right to exploit its property.18 This requirement is hence able to correctly classify property infringements in situations where the empowering legislation expressly provides for expropriation, at least where the expropriation results in the acquisition of property by the state. It follows that the acquisition requirement will not present problems in the majority of expropriation-proper cases, since most expropriations result in state acquisition of property.

However, confining the expropriation investigation to whether or not acquisition took place obfuscates the true explanation of why the infringement constitutes expropriation, in that it conflates cause and effect. The state would not have been able to expropriate the respondent's lease if there had been no statutory authority for it in the first place.19 A more principled explanation as to why expropriation occurred under these circumstances - one which accords with the position in pre-constitutional expropriation law20 - is therefore not to concentrate on the effect of the interference but rather on the authorising source itself. In this sense the empowering provision, namely section 190 of the KwaZulu-Natal Local Authorities Ordinance 25 of 1974, clearly sets out the procedures, circumstances and conditions under which expropriation may take place and also provides for compensation (through incorporating the Expropriation Act 63 of 1975), as required in terms of the authorisation requirement.21 Thus, the fact that the legislation in Spetsiotis explicitly authorised the state to undertake the expropriation is the real reason why the interference constitutes expropriation, not the fact that it (incidentally) led to state acquisition of property. Indeed, it is conceivable - at least theoretically - that an empowering statute could authorise the expropriation of property through its mere extinguishment or destruction without the state acquiring anything in the process.22 Under these circumstances the authorisation requirement would have no problem recognising the interference as expropriation, although it is difficult to see how the state acquisition requirement would arrive at this conclusion.

It follows that whether or not a property interference amounts to expropriation (still) depends on the pre-constitutional authorisation requirement and not the effect of the infringement, even though this is not recognised in case law.23 Although the state acquisition requirement confirms why expropriation took place in cases like Spetsiotis, it does not present a workable method for distinguishing between deprivation and expropriation in all expropriation-proper cases.

1.3 "Forfeiture-type " cases

As said in the previous section, the fact that most expropriations result in state acquisition might create the mistaken impression that whether or not expropriation occurred depends only on if the state acquired property. Forfeiture-type cases, which involve scenarios where the state acquires property pursuant to legislation that is regulatory in nature, exemplify the second problem of confining the expropriation inquiry to the effect of the infringement. Examples of such infringements include criminal forfeiture of property and (perhaps)24 also laws regulating insolvency.

Criminal forfeiture or confiscation - as it is referred to in the Prevention of Organised Crime Act 121 of 1998 (POCA) - involves state action whereby the state acquires property without the consent of the owner upon conviction of an offence.25 Section 18(1) of POCA provides that a court may, upon convicting a defendant of an offence, inquire into any benefit which the defendant may have derived from the offence and then make an order for the payment against the defendant to the state of any amount the court considers appropriate. A court may also make any further orders it deems fit to ensure the effectiveness and fairness of that order, such as forfeiting property used in the commission of an offence or acquired with funds related to an offence. The purpose behind criminal forfeiture is inter alia to "strip sophisticated criminals of the proceeds of their criminal conduct"26 and to prevent them from repeating their crimes.27 Laws governing criminal forfeiture of property are aimed at protecting public health and safety and are therefore regarded as being regulatory in nature.28

However, if one formalistically applies the state acquisition requirement to cases involving criminal forfeiture it is clear that what the affected party loses (namely ownership of the forfeited object) is not only "substantially similar"29 but virtually identical to what is acquired by the state. The state is the ultimate beneficiary and is allowed to exploit the forfeited property, which includes selling it and using the proceeds to help combat crime. In terms of Mogoeng CJ's judgment, criminal forfeiture clearly fits the state acquisition (or expropriation) model. However, it makes little sense to regard criminal forfeiture as expropriation which requires compensation, as it would be nonsensical to compensate criminals who forfeit property used in the commission of offences.30 Nevertheless, it is hard to avoid this conclusion in the context of the effect-centred test the Agri SA court formulated to establish whether or not expropriation took place.

The same problem seems to present itself in the context of section 21(1) of the Insolvency Act 24 of 1936 (Insolvency Act), which is discussed in more detail elsewhere31 and will hence not be repeated here. It allows the state, through the Master, to acquire the property of the solvent spouse until such time as he or she can prove that the property does not belong to the insolvent estate. The provision therefore also results in the state acquiring ownership of the solvent spouse's property,32 although it must be emphasised that the state does not acquire the right to exploit the affected property.33 Thus, the vesting of the solvent spouse's property in the Master of the High Court and later in the trustee of the insolvent estate seemingly also satisfies Mogoeng CJ's state acquisition test. Be that as it may, it is unhelpful to regard this type of interference, as with criminal forfeiture, as expropriation which requires compensation. It follows that there must be another explanation of why these property infringements do not amount to expropriation, even though they result in state acquisition of property.34

1.4 "Hybrid" cases

The third type of case which displays the flaws of the state acquisition requirement relates to instances where the property infringement is sourced in legislation that is primarily aimed at regulating property but which also provides for expropriation. Legislation of this type may be characterised as hybrid in that it authorises both deprivation and expropriation, depending on the specific situation. A prime example of such an act is the MPRDA, which expressly authorises the state to expropriate property35 and also stipulates that anyone who can prove that his property has been expropriated in terms of the Act may claim compensation from the state.36 Yet, it was shown earlier37 that the main objective of the MPRDA is to bring about an institutional regime change38 in South Africa's mineral and petroleum law and not to expropriate mineral rights en masse. Categorising interferences sourced in such statutes is therefore a more difficult nut to crack, especially since the authorisation requirement does not provide a straightforward answer in this context.39 Furthermore, it is debatable whether the effects of the MPRDA on Sebenza's rights did not amount to state acquisition. To answer this question one should distinguish between the moment the MPRDA abrogated certain entitlements40 held by old order right holders when it came into effect, and when Sebenza's mineral rights were extinguished at the expiration of the applicable one-year period.41 Counsel for Agri South Africa based their case solely on the former point in time to challenge the constitutionality of the Act.

The Constitutional Court held that the MPRDA had not resulted in state acquisition of Sebenza's mineral rights, since the state had not acquired either ownership of the affected mineral rights or the right to exploit them. At least two points of criticism can be levelled against this finding, firstly regarding the effect of the Act on its date of commencement and, secondly, when the Act extinguished Sebenza's old order rights at the expiration of the one-year deadline.42 Rautenbach43 refers to the fact that under the Minerass Act 50 of 1991 (Minerass Act) the state could enforce the exploitation of minerals against the will of mineral right holders only if it expropriated the rights against payment of compensation. Under the MPRDA this possibility of receiving compensation is "lost" upon its coming into effect, as holders of unactivated old order rights are now forced to activate these rights or risk losing them. The state therefore has the benefit of keeping the money it would otherwise have had to pay out in terms of the Minerals Act, which benefit Rautenbach44 thinks satisfies the state acquisition requirement.45

The second point of criticism is found in a decision of the Australian High Court, namely Commonwealth v WMC Resources Ltd46 (WMC Resources). This case concerned the constitutionality of legislation that extinguished the interest held by a mining company in an exploration permit to explore for petroleum on the continental shelf off Australia. The company argued that this extinguishment resulted in an uncompensated expropriation (or acquisition, in Australian legal terminology) contrary to section 51(xxxi) of the Commonwealth Constitution (1900).47 The minority held that the extinguishment of the permit indeed resulted in an acquisition of property by reason of its revesting in the Commonwealth upon its extinguishment.48 The Commonwealth could subsequently, so the argument went, grant it to others and thus derive financial gain from it - be it in the form of taxes or otherwise. It is worth emphasising that Froneman J arrived at a similar conclusion in his minority judgment in Agri SA concerning the effect of the MPRDA, which enables the state to grant new rights to minerals to third parties in situations where old order rights were extinguished because of non-conversion.49

In view of Rautenbach's argument and the minority judgments in WMC Resources (read with Froneman J's minority judgment), it may very well be asked whether the MPRDA did not perhaps result in state acquisition of property, either upon its commencement or when Sebenza's old order rights were extinguished. Such a conclusion would mean - in terms of Mogoeng CJ's effect-centred acquisition test -that Sebenza's rights were acquired by the state and that expropriation therefore occurred. In this regard WMC Resources bears interesting parallels to the extinguishment of unused old order rights held by mineral right holders such as Sebenza who did not (or could not) convert them into new order rights before the expiration of the applicable deadline. Though these two arguments do not categorically discredit the Agri SA court's finding regarding state acquisition, they do raise valid questions concerning the outcome of the case if the Court would have found that acquisition had in fact taken take place.

The three types of cases discussed in this section demonstrate the problems of basing the expropriation question exclusively on the effect of the infringement. The distinction between deprivation and expropriation is just not as simplistic so as to depend exclusively on whether or not the state acquired property. The question which has to be asked is if there is an alternative to state acquisition, one which is capable of distinguishing between deprivation and expropriation on a more coherent basis. Against this background I think a possible solution which is akin to the pre-constitutional authorisation requirement lies in not concentrating on the effect of the interference but rather on considering the source of the infringement in terms of its broad context and purpose, as was done by Goldstone J in Harksen.50

 

2 A principled approach towards the expropriation question

2.1 Harksen's first qualification

Goldstone J's judgment in Harksen provides an outline for adjudicating expropriation cases on a more principled basis in that it is capable of avoiding the pitfalls of the state acquisition requirement illustrated by the three types of cases above. As mentioned elsewhere,51 the Court added two qualifications to the expropriation inquiry besides establishing whether acquisition occurred, namely (i) the broad context and purpose of the impugned provision as a whole as well as (ii) the permanence of the interference.52 It has already been explained why the permanence qualification is unhelpful,53 but the first qualification is useful in that it focuses on the source of the infringement (rather than its effect) by taking into account the purpose behind the impugned statute. Establishing the purpose of legislation is an important consideration in the context of the different aims behind the two powers through which the state may interfere with property, namely deprivation (section 25(1)) and expropriation (section 25(2)).54 Moreover, the first qualification is akin to the pre-constitutional authorisation requirement, since it also focuses on the source of the interference to answer the expropriation question.

The Harksen court held that the interference caused by section 21(1) of the Insolvency Act- even though it resulted in state acquisition - did not amount to expropriation.55 The Court relied56 on Van Schalkwyk v Die Meester57in this regard, where it was found that section 21(1) is inter alia meant to prevent the wrongful alienation of assets from an insolvent estate, and to prevent malicious or accidental damage, as well as the theft of assets belonging to the insolvent estate by third parties.58 The goal of the impugned provision is thus to "temporarily ... lay the hand of the law"59 upon the property of the solvent spouse by creating a procedure to protect the interests of creditors to the insolvent estate as well as those of the solvent spouse. Against this background Goldstone J held that "section 21 do[es] not have the purpose or effect of ... [an] expropriation of property".60

Although Goldstone J did not expand on what purposes are characteristic of legislation which provides for expropriation (save the permanence requirement), nor how his approach might be used to distinguish between deprivation and expropriation in future cases, his focus on the aims of the impugned statute provides guideposts for how this may be done. Indeed, the purposes behind section 21(1) mentioned in the previous paragraph are typical of the state's regulatory police power (deprivation), which includes the state's role in resolving civil disputes.61 When viewed from this angle it becomes clear why the interference at hand amounts to deprivation rather than expropriation, since the aim behind section 21(1) is not to acquire property for the state.62

That Goldstone J did not merely focus on the effect of section 21(1) to decide whether it amounts to expropriation should be applauded. This entails a nuanced approach towards the expropriation question, one which recognises that the difference between deprivation and expropriation is not as simple as merely asking if the state acquired the affected property and which is cognisant of the fact that expropriation can (at least in terms of pre-constitutional law) take place only pursuant to empowering legislation. It also underscores the danger of conflating cause and effect, as the mere fact that state acquisition occurred - as in Harksen - does not necessarily entail that the interference results in expropriation. Indeed, if the Constitutional Court had focused only on the effect of section 21(1) the chances are that it might have decided that the interference did amount to an uncompensated expropriation of the applicant's property.

Harksen's first qualification bears a striking resemblance to how the Australian High Court establishes if an acquisition of property amounts to expropriation in terms of section 51(xxxi). Indeed, many of the explanations in that jurisdiction confirm the outcome in Harksen, especially when understood against the background of Sax's theory and how it - according to Allen63 - influenced the jurisprudence of this legal system when it comes to distinguishing between deprivation and expropriation.64 Australian constitutional property law therefore helps to inform Harksen's purpose-based approach, especially given the fact that Goldstone J did not expand on what (other) purposes would be typical of deprivation and expropriation respectively.65

2.2 The purpose of the authorising statute in Australian constitutional property law

The High Court uses a two-step methodology to decide whether or not a property infringement amounts to "expropriation" for the purposes of section 51(xxxi)66 of the Commonwealth Constitution (1900) (the Constitution), namely (i) was there "acquisition" of property as meant in section 51(xxxi) and (ii) was the acquisition an acquisition of property with respect to section 51(xxxi)?67 The aim of this methodology is to characterise legislation authorising property infringements as either expropriatory or regulatory in nature, as only section 51(xxxi) requires just terms (or compensation).68

The first step concerns the question of whether or not the interference results in acquisition of property. This requirement has already been discussed in Part I of this article and will therefore not be dealt with here.69 Suffice it to say that a property infringement will amount to acquisition if the Commonwealth (or someone else) acquires a proprietary benefit which pertains to the ownership or use of the affected property.70 However, the mere fact that a property interference results in acquisition does not necessarily mean that it requires just terms, as the Australian property clause does not inhibit other legislative powers aimed at acquiring property without just terms.71 To determine whether the acquisition amounts to "expropriation" or not, it must be ascertained if the acquisition is an acquisition with respect to section 51(xxxi). An acquisition of property will not be an acquisition with respect to section 51(xxxi) if it is explicitly sourced in or authorised by a different "head of power" (or federal state power)72 outside the property clause.73 One example of such an "other" head of power is the federal power for the levying of taxes, which is specifically provided for in section 51(ii).74 Another is the acquisition of state railways in terms of section 51(xxxiii).75 Acquisitions sourced in these heads of power do not entail acquisitions with respect to section 51(xxxi) and therefore do not require just terms, even though the Commonwealth acquires property in the process.

Laws affecting acquisition that do not provide for just terms and which are not explicitly sourced outside section 51(xxxi) will also not necessarily require just terms.76 One of the loci classici in this context is Re Director of Public Prosecutions; Ex Parte Lawler77 (Lawler), which concerned the forfeiture of a fishing boat. In this case a person used a fishing boat for commercial fishing in Australian waters without the necessary licence to do so. The person was subsequently convicted and the boat forfeited to the Commonwealth pursuant to the applicable statute. However, the boat did not belong to the party contravening the law but to innocent third parties. These individuals subsequently challenged the authorising legislation as providing for the acquisition of property without just terms.

It is clear that the legislation resulted in an acquisition of property by the Commonwealth. However, the High Court held that the empowering statute did not entail acquisition with respect to section 51(xxxi), as the primary purpose of the impugned statute was not to acquire property for the Commonwealth but rather to proscribe criminal conduct.78 It was further decided that the means used by the challenged law were reasonably related to its purpose - the fact that the forfeited property belonged to innocent third parties did not change this conclusion.79 The forfeiture was justified in view of the nature of the property (a fishing boat), the deterring effect it had on both guilty and innocent owners, and the difficulty of enforcing laws aimed at preventing illegal commercial fishing along the length of the Australian coastline. Indeed, to require just terms under these circumstances would be inconsistent with the aims of the law regulating forfeiture.80 For these reasons the Court concluded that the empowering statute falls within another head of power, namely section 51(x),81 and not section 51(xxxi), even though it is not explicitly sourced in the former section. Consequently, criminal forfeiture generally falls outside section 51(xxxi), since its main aim is not to acquire property for the Commonwealth but rather to discourage criminal conduct, even though the forfeited property is ultimately put to a public use - such as using the proceeds from selling the forfeited property to help combat crime.82

Thus, whether an acquisition of property does or does not result in expropriation depends not only on the effect of the interference but also on whether the legislation authorising the acquisition can be characterised as a law with respect to section 51(xxxi).83 To answer this question it must then be established in which head of power the impugned legislation is sourced, which is done by ascertaining the statute's main purpose. If the acquisition is merely ancillary or incidental to the primary aim of the impugned law, such as proscribing criminal conduct, it will not be an acquisition with respect to the property clause.84 Yet under these circumstances the means selected -in other words the property interference itself - must still be appropriate and adapted to the purpose which the legislation seeks to achieve, if it is to pass constitutional muster.85 It follows that if the primary aim of the authorising statute is to acquire property for the Commonwealth (as was for instance the case in Georgiadis v Australian and Overseas Telecommunications Corporation (Georgiadis),86then it will be an acquisition with respect to section 51(xxxi), which requires just terms. If the impugned statute fails to provide just terms in this context, it will be declared invalid.87

The state's role in resolving or settling competing claims is another instance where the acquisition of property may be merely ancillary to the primary purpose of the authorising statute.88 A decision on this point is Mutual Pooss & Staff Pty Limited v The Commonwealth of Australia89 (Mutual Pools), which concerned the constitutionality of legislation that extinguished the Commonwealth's liability to refund taxes to certain pool builders. The aim of the legislation was to prevent windfall benefits to pool builders in situations where they passed the applicable tax on to third parties, namely pool owners. The primary objective behind the statute was thus to ensure that the tax refunds reached the right persons, namely the pool owners and not the pool builders. The majority held that the impugned legislation did not have the acquisition of property as its principal aim and that its main purpose was merely to regulate competing claims. For this reason the acquisition fell outside section 51(xxxi).90 It follows that laws which "provide for the ... general regulation of the conduct, rights and obligations of citizens in relationships or areas which need to be regulated in the common interest"91 usually do not fall within the ambit of section 51(xxxi), even though they may incidentally result in the acquisition of property.92

The state's role in settling civil disputes also extends to the vesting of property other than claims in the Commonwealth. An interesting example in Australian law - one that is similar to Harksen - concerns laws which govern bankruptcy and insolvency by vesting ownership of the property belonging to an insolvent estate in the Official Receiver (or Master, in the South African context) upon sequestration.93 Australian law is clear on this point: laws relating to bankruptcy and insolvency do not lead to the acquisition of property with respect to section 51(xxxi).94 As in Mutual Pools, the primary purpose of the vesting of the insolvent person's property in the Official Receiver is not to acquire property for the Commonwealth but rather to regulate competing claims of creditors to the insolvent estate so as to protect their interests. For this reason the acquisition is not an acquisition with respect to section 51(xxxi), which means that just terms are not required.

In Australian law, state interference with property must therefore satisfy two requirements for it to amount to expropriation that requires just terms. Firstly, there must be an acquisition of property as meant in section 51(xxxi). Once it is established that there was acquisition it must be determined in which "head of power" the authorising statute is sourced to decide whether or not the acquisition was an acquisition with respect to section 51(xxxi). This is done by identifying the primary purpose of the authorising legislation. If the principal aim is to acquire property for the Commonwealth, it falls within section 51(xxxi) and just terms will be required. If the impugned provision does not provide just terms in this context, it will be declared invalid. On the other hand, if the main objective of the legislation is not to acquire property for the Commonwealth but relates to the protection of public health and safety or the regulation of competing claims, it will not be an acquisition for the purposes of the property clause, even though it may incidentally result in the acquisition of property. Yet under these circumstances the means chosen must be appropriate and adapted to the ends sought for the law authorising the interference to be constitutionally compliant.

2.3 Lessons for South African constitutional property law

The second step of the High Court's methodology is remarkably similar to Goldstone J's first qualification in Harksen, as both approaches investigate the purpose behind the impugned statute to decide the expropriation question. Australian constitutional property law underscores the problems prevalent in basing this inquiry solely on the state acquisition requirement, as illustrated by the three types of cases discussed earlier.95 Although the presence of state acquisition is indicative that expropriation may have occurred, the acquisition must also be an acquisition with respect to section 51(xxxi). To answer this question the main aim or purpose of the impugned provision must be identified to ascertain in which "head of power" it is sourced. This explanation complicates legal comparison, however, as it is unique to the specific structure of the Australian Constitution!96Still, Van der Walt97 thinks that the logic concerning the structural division between the federal state powers which govern deprivation and expropriation in Australian law also applies to the differences between these forms of state interference in countries like South Africa - especially when viewed in terms of Sax's theory. In this context Allen98 believes that the head of power investigation broadly corresponds to the theory developed by Sax in his classic article99 to help distinguish the powers that govern deprivation and expropriation. It is therefore necessary to briefly set out Sax's theory so as to understand how the High Court's section 51(xxxi) jurisprudence could help inform Goldstone J's first qualification.

According to Sax there are two forms of government activity through which the state may reduce or diminish established property values, namely its arbitral (or mediating) capacity and its enterprise capacity. The arbitral capacity or function entails that the state resolves competing claims of various citizens and groups within society without acquiring resources in the process. Examples in this regard include neighbour law, rent control and insolvency laws. Another occurrence of this function is when the state limits - or even destroys - property so as to protect public health and safety.100 Compensation is not required under these circumstances, no matter how severe the loss, as the aim of this power is to "defin[e] standards to reconcile differences among the private interests in the community".101 One of the most important features of the arbitral capacity in this context is the fact that these purposes constitute what is known as the state's core police power functions.102 Against this background Allen thinks that Sax's theory underlies a judgment like Mutual Pools, where the Court ruled that the infringement does not result in the acquisition of property with respect to section 51(xxxi) by reason of the aim of the impugned legislation, namely to resolve conflicting claims.103 It also clarifies a case like Lawler where the state actually acquires property, as long as the acquisition is incidental to one of the specified purposes.104 Another judgment which relates to this line of thinking is JT International SA v Commonwealth of Australia,105where it was held that the infringement does not result in expropriation by reason of the purpose of the impugned legislation, namely to protect public health (and not to acquire economic resources for the state's own benefit).106 It follows that property infringements sourced in this capacity merely entail non-compensable exercises of the police power, as long as the requirements for a valid deprivation are met as well.

The second way in which the state may diminish property values is through its enterprise capacity. In terms of this function the state actively partakes in the free market to benefit some state enterprise, such as the building of public roads, schools or dams. Therefore, when acting in this capacity the state enhances its economic position by acquiring resources from the citizenry. Sax distinguishes between the state's arbitral and enterprise capacities through establishing what constitutes fair or unfair state action. As it will be in the state's interest to acquire as many resources for as little as possible, it would amount to unfair or arbitrary government if it were allowed to enhance its resource position - at the cost of one or a small group of individuals - without compensating the individual or group for the loss. The purpose behind compensation in this regard is thus to provide a "bulwark against arbitrary, unfair, or tyrannical government."107 The outcome in Georgiadis, where the state extinguished the applicant's common-law claim for damages without compensating him, comes close to this reasoning, as the primary purpose of the impugned statute was to enhance the Commonwealth's resources (in that it no longer had to pay out the claim).108 Consequently, the High Court's method of establishing in which "head of power" a statute is sourced by identifying its main purpose - so as to answer the expropriation question - broadly follows Sax's theory for ascertaining in which government capacity the state is acting.109 Against this background it is now possible to draw on the jurisprudence of the High Court concerning its second step, for the purpose of extrapolating principles to inform Harksen's first qualification.

The Harksen court's focus on the purpose of the impugned statute to determine whether or not expropriation occurred is analogous to identifying the primary objective of the legislation for ascertaining in which state power110 (namely deprivation or expropriation) the authorising legislation is sourced.111 If the purpose of the statute relates to one of the state's core police power functions, such as protecting public health and safety or the settling of civil disputes, the interference is probably sourced in the state's arbitral (or deprivation) function. However, the state acts in its enterprise (or expropriatory) capacity when the main objective behind the impugned statute is to acquire resources from one owner or a small number of owners to enhance its economic position, which then requires the payment of compensation. This reasoning confirms Goldstone J's finding as to why section 21(1) of the Insolvency Act does not result in expropriation of property, as the provision is aimed at protecting the interests of creditors to the insolvent estate as well as those of the solvent spouse, and not to acquire resources for some state enterprise.112

Harksen's first qualification reveals why expropriation-proper cases result in expropriation. When legislation authorises expropriation, it is the purpose of the statute (or source) that explains why the interference is expropriatory in nature. Indeed, the aim behind the impugned statute in a case like Spetsiotis is not to regulate competing claims - as was the case in Harksen - but to acquire property for the state in order to realise a state enterprise (ie upgrading the municipal property for purposes related to South Africa's hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup). This reasoning is also able to clarify why the expropriation of property via its destruction amounts to expropriation, since the infringement's classification depends on the purpose of the authorising source and not on its effect.113 Interestingly, the result of Goldstone J's purpose-based approach in this context is similar to conclusion one reaches under the pre-constitutional authorisation requirement.114

Harksen's purpose-based technique also clarifies why forfeiture-type cases do not amount to expropriation. It is trite that the objective of legislation that authorises criminal forfeiture is not to acquire property for the state - such as to build schools or dams - but to protect public health and safety by removing from the hands of criminals instrumentalities used in the commission of offences, so as to prevent them from repeating their crimes.115 In this regard forfeiture-type cases are analogous to Harksen, where it was held that the purpose of section 21(1) of the Insolvency Act is not to transfer property to the Master or trustee but to ensure that the insolvent estate is not deprived of property to which it is entitled so as to protect the interests of creditors, which purposes relate to the state's role in resolving civil disputes. The fact that the state acquires property in the process should not detract from this conclusion, as long as the acquisition - in terms of Australian law - is merely incidental to some other legitimate purpose. It follows that the state is merely acting in its arbitral (or police power) capacity in the context of criminal forfeiture and insolvency, as confirmed by cases like Lawler and Mutual Pools. However, even though the interference does not result in expropriation, it must still satisfy the requirements for a valid deprivation of property in section 25(1) of the Constitution.116Interestingly, this outcome is (again) comparable to the pre-constitutional authorisation requirement, since statutes that govern criminal forfeiture and insolvency invariably do not set out the circumstances, procedures and conditions under which the state may expropriate property, and also do not provide for compensation.

Finally, I turn to the application of Goldstone J's approach to hybrid cases, as typified by legislation such as the MPRDA. As said earlier,117 one must first distinguish between two points in time to ascertain if the MPRDA results in expropriation, namely the date when the Act came into effect and the moment when unactivated old order rights were extinguished.118 Concerning the first stage, Mogoeng CJ was justified in finding that the abrogation of the ius abutendi had not resulted in state acquisition, as the state had not obtained the right or entitlement (not) to exploit the minerals to which these rights pertained.119 Yet, Rautenbach120 thinks that the abrogation of the ius abutendi satisfied the state acquisition requirement, since the state acquired the benefit of keeping the money it would otherwise have had to pay out to holders of unused mineral rights under the pre-MPRDA regime in order to force them to activate these rights.

Closer analysis, however, reveals that Rautenbach's concern is misplaced. In terms of the FNB methodology it must first be ascertained if the affected interest qualifies as constitutional property.121 Indeed, there can be no expropriation in terms of section 25(2) if there is no constitutional property at hand. In this sense it is doubtful whether that which is lost by the holders of unactivated old order rights - namely the possibility of receiving compensation under the Minerals Act for being forced to activate their mineral rights - amounts to property, as the right to receive compensation under the Minerals Act might not yet have vested when the MPRDA came into effect. Before vesting the right to receive compensation would merely have been a possible future interest or a spes. In terms of National Credit Regulator v Opperman122an interest must have vested in terms of established legal principles and it must also be a concrete asset in order to amount to constitutional property.123 The mere fact that an interest has value or relates to a person's general wealth or financial status, as was the case with Sebenza, is insufficient for it to qualify for protection under the property clause.124

Consequently, there can be no possibility of expropriation, as the affected interest does not amount to constitutionally protected property in the first place. Yet, it would have been a different matter if a holder of unused old order rights already had a vested claim for compensation based on the fact that the state had forced that person to activate the rights under the Minerals Act before the MPRDA came into force - but this is not what happened in Agri SA.

However, matters are more complex regarding whether the MPRDA results in expropriation in terms of the second stage.125 In cases of non-conversion the unactivated old order rights ceased to exist and the state could then award new rights to those minerals to third parties, although it did not acquire the right to exploit those rights themselves. In view of the minority opinion in WMC Resources, read with Froneman J's minority judgment in Agri SA, this benefit might very well result in state acquisition of property. Nonetheless, I think that the interference is sourced in the state's arbitral (or deprivation) capacity, irrespective of whether state acquisition took place or not. Indeed, the acquisition here (if there is one) would be merely incidental to the primary purposes of the Act, as was the case in judgments like Lawler and Mutual Pools. By extinguishing unactivated old order rights due to non-conversion, even though the state could grant new rights to these minerals to third parties, it did not acquire the right to exploit the affected mineral rights for its own financial benefit and it therefore did not enhance its resource position. Consequently, it cannot be said that the purpose of the extinguishment of mineral rights held by parties like Sebenza was the acquisition of resources for the state, which it could use for some state enterprise. The primary objectives behind the MPRDA are to open up the mining industry and to ensure optimal (and ecologically responsible) exploitation of the country's mineral wealth.126 These aims broadly relate to the state's core police power function of resolving competing claims, in that the MPRDA sets standards as to how mineral rights may henceforth be acquired, held and exploited by private parties, which indicate that the interference at hand is regulatory rather than expropriatory in nature.127

The fact that the interference is not sourced in the state's enterprise capacity does not mean, however, that it is necessarily constitutional. It must also satisfy the requirements for a valid deprivation set out in section 25(1) of the Constitution.128 Interestingly, Agri South Africa based its case exclusively on section 25(2) and did not in any way focus on the requirements of section 25(1). The latter section stipulates that property may be deprived only in terms of law of general application and no law may permit the arbitrary deprivation of property. The MPRDA probably complies with the law-of-general-application requirement, as it is precise, specific and accessible to the citizenry.129 As regards non-arbitrary deprivation, FNB held that deprivations must be both substantively and procedurally non-arbitrary to satisfy this requirement.130 It would be difficult to challenge the constitutionality of the relevant provisions in the MPRDA on the basis of substantive non-arbitrariness, especially given the express mandate in the Constitution - as well as normative considerations - requiring reforms in the mineral sector.131 The only likely avenue to launch a constitutional attack would therefore be to challenge the MPRDA on the basis of procedural arbitrariness.

Van der Walt132 opines that the test for procedural non-arbitrariness in terms of section 25(1) should be informed by the principles of administrative law under section 33 of the Constitution as well as the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act 3 of 2000 (PAJA). One of the central questions in this regard is whether or not the MPRDA satisfies the procedural fairness requirement of administrative law. The Act provides a procedure whereby holders of unused old order rights could convert them into either new order prospecting or mining rights within a period of one year. Generally this process appears to be procedurally fair, as holders of unactivated mineral rights were afforded an opportunity to convert these rights into new order rights and did not merely lose them upon the commencement of the MPRDA. The facts surrounding Sebenza, however, are rather unique in that it was precluded from applying for conversion before the deadline due to its untimely insolvency. The MPRDA does not allow extensions in this regard and merely provides for the extinguishment of unconverted old order rights at the end of the period. This oversight may very well mean that the deprivation caused by the MPRDA is procedurally unfair - and thus in conflict with section 25(1) - in that it fails to adequately cater for parties that find themselves in situations similar to that of Sebenza.133 Consequently, Agri South Africa might have had a better chance of arguing that the MPRDA resulted in procedurally arbitrary deprivation of Sebenza's property.

To conclude, the Harksen approach - as informed by Australian constitutional property law - offers a workable method for deciding hybrid cases as well as forfeiture-type cases while at the same time providing a principled explanation for expropriation-proper cases. In this regard the importance of the state acquisition requirement ought to be reconsidered in future section 25 cases, especially in the context where an empowering statute might authorise expropriation through the mere destruction of property without the state acquiring anything in the process. (Over) emphasising the state acquisition requirement could potentially lead to anomalous outcomes if acquisition is indeed an indispensable requirement for all expropriations.134

 

3 Conclusion

According to the FNB methodology all constitutional property disputes must start with section 25(1). This methodology makes it unnecessary to initially distinguish between deprivation and expropriation, as the necessity of making this distinction is postponed to a later stage of the inquiry. However, in Agri SA the Constitutional Court recently confirmed its willingness to go straight to the section 25(2) step when parties focus their cases on the expropriation requirements. The question whether a property interference constitutes either deprivation or expropriation will therefore be of greater significance (and contention) in future cases based on the property clause.

The Agri SA court found that state acquisition constitutes the main difference between expropriation and deprivation - absent such acquisition the infringement can, at most, amount to deprivation of property. The Court formulated a context-sensitive test to ascertain whether acquisition (and hence expropriation) occurred, which test primarily considers the effect of the infringement. Against this background this article ascertains the meaning and role of state acquisition in South African law (Part I) and also whether this requirement is able to distinguish between deprivation and expropriation on a coherent basis (Part II).

The meaning Mogoeng CJ attributed to acquisition broadly relates to the pre-constitutional definition for expropriation. Expropriation is still an original method of acquisition of ownership, which means that what the state acquires need not correlate exactly to what is lost - the acquisition requirement will be satisfied as long as there is substantial similarity between the two. The Court held that the state must acquire ownership of or the right to exploit the affected property for there to be state acquisition (at least where the impugned statute has a transformative purpose). This definition explains why the expropriation of limited real rights (such as long-term leases and servitudes) results in state acquisition, which conclusion finds support in Australian law. Australian law is helpful for ascertaining the meaning of state acquisition, especially since it also provides guidelines for one of the factors Mogoeng CJ listed to establish whether acquisition had taken place, namely the source of the affected right.

Yet, viewing acquisition as the central feature for expropriation disregards its true role, as explained in Part I of this contribution. Pre-constitutional expropriation law shows that state acquisition is merely a general hallmark or explanation for expropriation rather than an indispensable requirement for it. Thus, it is more of a consequence than a requirement for expropriations validly performed pursuant to authorising legislation. Indeed, two of the most authoritative decisions on the meaning of expropriation during the pre-constitutional era - which were relied on by both the Harksen and Agri SA courts - concern statutes that explicitly authorised the state to expropriate property, and which incidentally resulted in the state acquiring property. It is therefore tempting to regard this consequence as a distinguishing characteristic of every expropriation, especially since most expropriations do result in state acquisition. However, it ignores the principles of pre-constitutional South African expropriation law, which determine that the state can expropriate property only in terms of legislation that specifically authorises expropriation while at the same time disregarding the fact that some expropriations could - at least theoretically - result in the destruction of property without the state acquiring anything in the process. Interestingly, Australian constitutional property law also reveals that the mere presence of acquisition does not automatically mean that a property interference amounts to expropriation.

Part II, in turn, expands on the shortcomings of the effect-based nature of the acquisition requirement for establishing whether or not expropriation took place, by discussing three different scenarios. These scenarios reveal that only focusing on the effect of a property infringement is unable to produce reliable results in all cases, especially those that fall within the grey area where deprivation starts to blur into expropriation. Fortunately, Harksen provides a workable method for solving this conundrum. To decide the expropriation question Goldstone J not only focused on the effect of the infringement but also on the broad context and purpose of the authorising statute. As the main purpose behind the impugned statute was held to be to protect the interests of the solvent spouse as well as those of creditors to the insolvent estate, the Court found that the interference - even though it resulted in a "transfer" of property to the state - did not amount to expropriation.

Goldstone J's method broadly correlates with the pre-constitutional authorisation requirement, which also considers the source of the interference, while at the same time bearing interesting parallels to how expropriation cases are decided in Australian law. The High Court of that country follows a two-step methodology in this regard: was there acquisition of property and, if so, was it an acquisition with respect to section 51(xxxi)? Thus, whether or not an interference with property amounts to expropriation in Australian law depends not only on its acquisitive effect. For an acquisition to amount to expropriation it has to be determined in which "head of power" the empowering statute is sourced, in terms of the second step of the methodology. This is done by identifying the main aim or purpose of the legislation. If the primary purpose relates to the protection of public health and safety or the state's role in resolving civil disputes, the interference does not amount to expropriation. This will be the case even if the state acquires property, as long as the acquisition is merely incidental to one of the specified functions and the means selected by the impugned provision are appropriate and adapted to the purpose served. However, if the primary objective of the legislation is to acquire property for the state so as to enhance its resource capacity, the infringement is sourced in section 51(xxxi) (meaning it results in expropriation) and thus requires compensation. If the impugned statute does not provide compensation under these circumstances, it will be declared invalid.

The High Court's focus on the purpose of the impugned statute to identify in which head of power it is sourced - based on Allen's reading of Sax - is broadly consistent with Sax's theory for distinguishing between the state's arbitral (deprivation) and enterprise (expropriation) capacities. In this sense a property interference that aims to settle private disputes (such as Harksen) or which purports to protect public health and safety (like criminal forfeiture) is merely an instance of the state's police power. However, if the primary aim of the statute is to acquire resources for the state in order to realise some state enterprise (like building schools or highways), the infringement will be sourced in the state's power of eminent domain. In view of this interpretation, the Australian High Court's jurisprudence on expropriation provides valuable insights as to how Harksens purpose-based approach could be used to decide future cases based on the property clause. It would therefore be preferable if the Constitutional Court did not concentrate on the effect of an infringement but rather considered the purpose of the interference when deciding section 25 cases. Harksen embodies a principled method for distinguishing deprivation and expropriation, one which circumvents the danger of mistakenly classifying legitimate transformative initiatives - such as the MPRDA - as affecting uncompensated expropriation contrary to section 25(2) of the Constitution.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Literature

Allen T The Right to Property in Commonwealth Constitutions (Cambridge University Press Cambridge 2000)        [ Links ]

Allen T "The Acquisition of Property on Just Terms" 2000 Sydney LR 351-380        [ Links ]

Badenhorst PJ "Expropriation of 'Unused Old Order Rights' by the MPRDA: You Had Nothing! Minister of Minerass and Energy v Agri SA (CALS amicus curiae) (458/11) 2012 ZASCA (31 May 2012)" 2013 THRHR 472-490        [ Links ]

Badenhorst PJ "Onteiening van Onbenutte Ou-orde Regte: Het Iets Niets Geword? Agri South Africa v Minister of Minerals and Energy 2013 4 SA 1 (KH)" 2014 THRHR 313-333        [ Links ]

Badenhorst PJ and Mostert H "Revisiting the Transitional Arrangements of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act 28 of 2002 and the Constitutional Property Clause: An Analysis in Two Parts. Part Two: Constitutionality of the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act's Transitional Provisions" 2004 Stell LR 22-51        [ Links ]

Badenhorst PJ, Pienaar JM and Mostert H Silberberg and Schoeman's The Law of Property 5th ed (LexisNexis Durban 2006)        [ Links ]

Gildenhuys A Onteieningsreg 2nd ed (Butterworths Durban 2001)        [ Links ]

Hopkins K and Hofmeyr K "New Perspectives on Property" 2003 SALJ 48-62        [ Links ]

Iles K "Property" in Currie I and De Waal J The Bill or Rights Handbook 6th ed (Juta Cape Town 2013) 530-562        [ Links ]

Marais EJ "The Constitutionality of Section 89(5)(c) of the National Credit Act under the Property Clause: National Credit Regulator v Opperman & Others" 2014 SALJ 215-233        [ Links ]

Mostert H Mineral Law: Principles and Policies in Perspective (Juta Cape Town 2012)        [ Links ]

Rautenbach IM "Expropriation and Arbitrary Deprival of Property: Five Forensic Constructions - Agri South Africa v Minister for Minerals and Energy 2013 7 BCLR 727 (CC), 2013 4 SA 1 (CC)" 2013 TSAR 743-757        [ Links ]

Sax JL "Takings and the Police Power" 1964 Yaee LJ36-76        [ Links ]

Van der Vyver "Nationalisation of Mineral Rights in South Africa" 2012 De Jure 125-142        [ Links ]

Van der Walt AJ Constitutional Property Clauses: A Comparative Analysis (Juta Cape Town 1999)        [ Links ]

Van der Walt AJ "Civil Forfeiture of Instrumentalities and Proceeds of Crime and the Constitutional Property Clause" 2000 SAJHR 1-45        [ Links ]

Van der Walt AJ Constitutional Property Law 3rd ed (Juta Cape Town 2011)        [ Links ]

Van der Walt AJ "Procedurally Arbitrary Deprivation of Property" 2012 Steil LR 88-94        [ Links ]

Van der Walt AJ and Botha H "Coming to Grips with the New Constitutional Order: Critical Comments on Harksen v Lane NO" 1998 SAPL 17-41        [ Links ]

Woolman S and Botha H "Limitations" in Woolman S, Roux T and Bishop M (eds) Constitutional Law of South Africa 2nd ed (Juta Cape Town 2006) ch 34        [ Links ]

Case law

Australia

Attorney-General (Cth) v Schmidt 1961 105 CLR 361

Attorney-General for the Northern Terrttory v Chaffey 2007 231 CLR 651

Australian Tape Manufacturers Association Ltd v The Commonwealth of Australia 1993 177 CLR 480

Commonwealth v WMC Resources Ltd 1998 HCA 8

Georgiadis v Australian and Overseas Telecommunications Corporation 1994 179 CLR 297

JT International SA v Commonwealth of Australia 2012 HCA 43 Minister of State for the Army v Dalziel 1944 68 CLR 261

Mutual Pools & Staff Pty Limited v The Commonwealth of Australia 1994 179 CLR 155

Nintendo Co Ltd v Centronics Systems Pty Ltd 1994 HCA 27

Re Director of Public Prosecutions; Ex Parte Lawler 1994 179 CLR 270

Theophanous v The Commonwealth 2006 225 CLR 101

Trade Practices Commission v Tooth & Co Limited 1979 142 CLR 379

Canada

British Columbia v Tener 1985 17 DLR 4th 1; 32 LCR 340

South Africa

Agri South Africa v Minister for Minerals and Energy 2013 4 SA 1 (CC)

Beckenstrater v Sand River Irrigation Board 1964 4 SA 510 (T)

eThekwini Municipality v Spetsiotis 2009 JOL 24536 (KZD)

First National Bank of SA Ltd t/a Wesbank v Commissioner, South African Revenue Service; First National Bank of SA Ltd t/a Wesbank v Minister of Finance 2002 4 SA 768 (CC)

Harksen v Lane 1998 1 SA 300 (CC)

Jewish Colonial Trust Ltd v Estate Nathan 1940 AD 163

Joyce & McGregor Ltd v Cape Provincial Administration 1946 AD 658

Minister van Waterwese v Mostert 1964 2 SA 656 (A)

National Credit Regulator v Opperman 2013 2 SA 1 (CC)

National Director of Public Prosecutions v Gardener 2011 4 SA 102 (SCA)

Pretoria City Council v Modimola 1966 3 SA 250 (A)

Reflect-All 1025 CC v MEC for Public Transport, Roads and Works, Gauteng Provincial Government 2009 6 SA 391 (CC)

S v Shaik 2008 5 SA 354 (CC)

Tongaat Group Ltd v Minister of Agriculture 1977 2 SA 961 (A)

Van Schakkwyk v Die Meester 1975 2 SA 508 (N)

Wallis v Johannesburg City Council 1981 3 SA 905 (W)

United Kingdom

Attorney-General v De Keyser's Royal Hotel 1920 AC 508

United States of America

Miller v Schoene 276 US 272 (1928)

Mugler v Kansas 123 US 623 (1887)

Pennsylvania Coal Co v Mahon 260 US 393 (1922)

Legislation

Australia

Commonwealth Constitution (1900)

South Africa

Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996

Expropriation Act 63 of 1975

Gauteng Transport Infrastructure Act 8 of 2001

Insolvency Act 24 of 1936

KwaZulu-Natal Local Authorities Ordinance 25 of 1974

Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act 28 of 2002

Minerals Act 50 of 1991

Prevention of Organised Crime Act 121 of 1998

Promotion of Administrative Justice Act 3 of 2000

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

MPRDA Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act

PAJA Promotion of Administrative Justice Act

POCA Prevention of Organised Crime Act

SAJHR South African Journal on Human Rights

SALJ South African Law Journal

SAPL South African Public Law

Stell LR Stellenbosch Law Review

Sydney LR Sydney Law Review

TSAR Tydskrif vir die Suid-Afrikaanse Reg

THRHR Tydskrif vir Hedendaagse Romeins-Hollandse Reg

Yale LJ Yale Law Journal

 

 

I would like to thank Profs André van der Walt, Hanri Mostert and Brendan Edgeworth for invaluable discussions and comments concerning various aspects of both parts of this article. I would also like to thank the two anonymous peer reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions. Any remaining errors are my own
* Part I appears in the same edition of this journal.
1 Agri South Africa v Minister for Minerals and Energy 2013 4 SA 1 (CC).
2 See Agri South Africa v Minister for Minerals and Energy 2013 4 SA 1 (CC); Reflect-All 1025 CC v MEC for Public Transport, Roads and Works, Gauteng Provincial Government 2009 6 SA 391 (CC); Harksen v Lane 1998 1 SA 300 (CC) and compare Tongaat Group Ltd v Minister of Agriculture 1977 2 SA 961 (A) 972; Pretoria City Council v Modimola 1966 3 SA 250 (A) 258; Wallis v Johannesburg City Council 1981 3 SA 905 (W) 908-909; Beckenstrater v Sand River Irrigation Board'1964 4 SA 510 (T) 515; Minister van Waterwese v Mostert 1964 2 SA 656 (A) 667. See further the discussion in s 3.2 of Part I of this article. There are also interesting similarities with how "acquisition" is interpreted in Australian constitutional property law: see s 3.4 of Part I of this article.
3 Agri South Africa v Minister for Minerals and Energy 2013 4 SA 1 (CC) paras 68-71.
4 See ss 3.2-3.3 of Part I of this article and compare the discussion in s 1.2 below.
5 Agri South Africa v MinIster for Minerals and Energy 2013 4 SA 1 (CC) paras 58-59. The Constitutional Court was not unanimous on this point, though. Both Cameron J and Froneman J in their respective minority judgments question whether state acquisition is a necessary feature of every expropriation: see Agri South Africa v Minister for Minerals and Energy 2013 4 SA 1 (CC) paras 77-78 (Cameron J) and paras 102-105 (Froneman J).
6 Van der Walt Constitutional Property Law 197, 345. See also s 1.2 below.
7 Tongaat Group Ltd v Minister of Agriculture 1977 2 SA 961 (A) 972; Beckenstrater v Sand River Irrigation Board 1964 4 SA 510 (T) 515. Mogoeng CJ relied on these judgments indirectly through citing Harksen v Lane 1998 1 SA 300 (CC) paras 31-32 in Agri South Africa v Minister for Minerals and Energy 2013 4 SA 1 (CC) paras 58-59.
8 Harksen v Lane 1998 1 SA 300 (CC).
9 These cases (mentioned in fn 7 above) are discussed in s 3.2 of Part I of this article.
10 Compare the discussions in ss 1.2-1.4 below.
11 I rely on Allen's view (Allen Commonwealth Constitutions 174-179) of how the theory developed by Sax 1964 Yale LJ 36-76 influenced the expropriation jurisprudence of the Australian High Court. See further s 2.3 below.
12 eThekwini Municipality v Spetsiotis 2009 JOL 24536 (KZD).
13 The case actually turned on whether the purpose behind the expropriation was a public purpose or in the public interest.
14 It is unclear from the decision whether the lease was a registered long-term lease (and therefore a limited real right) or whether it was merely an unregistered lease (in which instance it would simply be a personal right). For present purposes I assume that the lease was a registered one, especially given its duration.
15 Section 190 of the KwaZulu-Natal Local Authorities Ordinance 25 of 1974.
16 See the discussion in s 3.2 of Part I of this article and compare Mutual Pools & Staff Pty Limited v The Commonwealth of Australia 1994 179 CLR 155 194-195 per Dawson J and Toohey J and British Columbia v Tener 1985 17 DLR 4th 1; 32 LCR 340 para 68. See further the discussion of Australian law in s 3.4 of Part I of this article.
17 See Agri South Africa v Minister for Minerals and Energy 2013 4 SA 1 (CC) paras 58 and compare Georgiadis v Australian and Overseas Telecommunications Corporation 1994 179 CLR 297 311 per Brennan J, which is discussed in s 3.4 of Part I of this article.
18 Compare Agri South Africa v Minister for Minerals and Energy 2013 4 SA 1 (CC) paras 68-71.
19 Gildenhuys Onteieningsreg 9-10; Badenhorst, Pienaar and Mostert Silberberg and Schoeman 559; Van der Walt Constitutional Property Law 343-344. See also Pretoria City Council v Modimola 1966 3 SA 250 (A) 258; Joyce & McGregor Ltd v Cape Provincial Administration 1946 AD 658 671. See further the discussion of pre-constitutional expropriation law in s 3.2 of Part I of this article.
20 See the discussion of pre-constitutional expropriation law in s 3.2 of Part I of this article.
21 Gildenhuys Onteieningsreg 9-10; Badenhorst, Pienaar and Mostert Silberberg and Schoeman 559.
22 Van der Walt Constitutional Property Law 197, 345; Van der Vyver 2012 De Jure 131-133.
23 Neither Agri SA nor the decisions on which it relied to construe the state acquisition requirement (namely Harksen and Reflect-All) referred to the authorisation requirement at all.
24 I expand on the reason for this qualification in the last paragraph of this section.
25 Van der Walt Constitutional Property Law 314-316; Van der Walt 2000 SAJHR 32-33. See ch 5 of POCA, especially s 18. A comprehensive discussion of criminal forfeiture is beyond the scope of this article. For a more detailed analysis, see Van der Walt Constitutional Property Law 314-319 and Van der Walt 2000 SAJHR 1-45.
26 National Director of Public Prosecutions v Gardener 2011 4 SA 102 (SCA) para 19.
27 National Director of Public Prosecutions v Gardener 2011 4 SA 102 (SCa) para 19; S v Shaik 2008 5 SA 354 (CC) para 25. See also Van der Walt Constitutional Property Law 312.
28 Van der Walt Constitutional Property Law 311-312, 316-317; Van der Walt 2000 SAJHR 2-4, 6-7. See also Sax 1964 Yale LJ 74-76. It is worth mentioning that even though criminal forfeiture does not amount to expropriation, it must still satisfy the requirements for a valid deprivation in s 25(1) of the Constttution. I expand on why criminal forfeiture does not amount to expropriation in s 2.3 below.
29 Agri South Africa v Minister for Minerals and Energy 2013 4 SA 1 (CC) paras 58-59.
30 Sax 1964 Yale LJ 75-76; Van der Walt Constitutional Property Law 335, 347-348; Allen Commonwealth Constitutions 163.
31 See s 3.3 Part I of this article.
32 Compare Harksen v Lane 1998 1 SA 300 (CC) para 30, especially fn 13.
33 Even though it appears that ownership vests in the Master of the High Court: see Harksen v Lane 1998 1 SA 300 (CC) para 30, citing Jewish Colonial Trust Ltd v Estate Nathan 1940 AD 163 175. However, neither the Master nor the trustee acquires the entitlement to use or exploit the property, which counts against regarding this interference as expropriation: see Hopkins and Hofmeyr 2003 SALJ 51.
34 I expand on this explanation in s 2 below.
35 Section 55 of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act 28 of 2002 (the MPRDA).
36 Item 12(1) of Schedule II to the MPRDA. Another example of such a hybrid act is the Gauteng Transport Infrastructure Act 8 of 2001, which also provides for expropriation as well as compensation: See part 3 of the Act.
37 See s 2.1 of Part I of this article.
38 Van der Walt Constitutional Property Law 418. See also Mostert Mineral Law 78.
39 This is because the MPRDA sets out the circumstances, procedures and conditions upon which expropriation may take place (see s 55 of the MPRDA, which incorporates the Expropriation Act) and also provides for compensation (see s 55 MPRDA, again incorporating the Expropriation Act, read with Item 12(1) of Schedule II to the MPRDA).
40 Especially the ius abutendi: see Mostert Mineral Law 93, 138-140, 142. See also Badenhorst 2013 THRHR 484-485 and Van der Vyver 2012 De Jure 135-136. See further s 2.1 of Part I of this article.
41 Item 8(4) of Schedule II to the MPRDA.
42 Oddly, Mogoeng CJ does not seem to have considered the effect of the MPRDA on Sebenza's rights at this point in time to decide whether expropriation took place. This is an important consideration, as Sebenza lost valuable property when the Act extinguished its unactivated old order rights at the expiration of the one-year period provided in Item 8(4) of Schedule II to the MPRDA.
43 Rautenbach 2013 TSAR 747. See also Agri South Africa v Minister for Minerals and Energy 2013 4 SA 1 (CC) paras 45-46.
44 Rautenbach 2013 TSAR 747, citing Agri South Africa v Minister for Minerals and Energy 2013 4 SA 1 (CC) para 106 (Froneman J's minority judgment). Compare this argument to the reasoning in Georgiadis v Australian and Overseas Telecommunications Corporation 1994 179 CLR 297, which is discussed in s 3.4 of Part I of this article.
45 Compare Van der Vyver 2012 De Jure 135-136. However, Van der Vyver concludes - rather superficially - that the deprivation caused by the MPRDA in this context results in expropriation by reason of it being authorised by law of general application and because it is for a public purpose or in the public interest. This is due to his view (130) that the non-arbitrariness requirement in s 25(1) is not similar to the public purpose or public interest requirements in s 25(2). For criticism of this argument, see fn 51 in Part I of this article.
46 Commonwealth v WMC Resources Ltd 1998 HCA 8.
47 The acquisition requirement in Australian constitutional property law is discussed more fully in s 3.4 of Part I of this article.
48 Commonwealth v WMC Resources Ltd 1998 HCA 8 paras 53-59 per Toohey J and paras 246-247 per Kirby J. Toohey J (paras 53-59) and Kirby J (paras 246-247) maintained that the benefit obtained by the Commonwealth was proprietary in nature and therefore satisfied the acquisition requirement in s 51(xxxi) of the Commonwealth Constitution (1900). The majority, however, found that no acquisition had taken place. See also Allen 2000 Sydney LR 356-357.
49 Agri South Africa v Minister for Minerals and Energy 2013 4 SA 1 (CC) paras 80-81. Compare Badenhorst 2014 THRHR 328-329 and Badenhorst and Mostert 2004 Stell LR 49-50.
50 A number of academic commentators think that focusing on the source or power that authorises the property interference is helpful for distinguishing between deprivation and expropriation: see Van der Walt Constitutional Property Law 192-193, 196-199, 210, 212; Mostert Mineral Law 123-124, 153; Badenhorst, Pienaar and Mostert Silberberg and Schoeman 544; Allen Commonwealth Constitutions 163-164, 177-178. See also Iles "Property" 539, 550.
51 Section 3.3 of Part I of this article.
52 Harksen v Lane 1998 1 SA 300 (CC) paras 35-36.
53 Allen Commonwealth Constitutions 167, citing Minister of State for the Army v Dalziel 1944 68 CLR 261; Van der Walt and Botha 1998 SAPL 22-23, citing Attorney-General v De Keyser's Royal Hotel 1920 AC 508. See further s 3.3 of Part I of this article.
54 See s 2.3 below. Compare Iles "Property" 550, who thinks that Ackermann J's discussion of Australian law in First National Bank of SA Ltd t/a Wesbank v Commissioner, South African Revenue Service; First National Bank of SA Ltd t/a Wesbank v Minister of Finance 2002 4 SA 768 (CC) paras 76-83 also supports such a purpose-based investigation for distinguishing between deprivation and expropriation.
55 Harksen v Lane 1998 1 SA 300 (CC) paras 30-39.
56 Harksen v Lane 1998 1 SA 300 (CC) para 35 fn 28.
57 Van Schalkwyk v Die Meester 1975 2 SA 508 (N).
58 Van Schalkwyk v Die Meester 1975 2 SA 508 (N) 510.
59 Harksen v Lane 1998 1 SA 300 (CC) para 36.
60 Harksen v Lane 1998 1 SA 300 (CC) para 37.
61 Sax 1964 Yaee LJ 36-37, 62-63; Van der Walt Constitutional Property Law 195-197; Allen Commonwealth Constitutions 174-175, 179-180; Van der Walt Constitutional Property Clauses 333-334. See further s 2.3 below.
62 See the sources referred to in fn 61.
63 Allen Commonwealth Constitutions 175-179.
64 See s 2.3 below.
65 The door to legal comparison with this jurisdiction was opened in First National Bank of SA Ltd t/a Wesbank v Commissioner, South African Revenue Service; First National Bank of SA Ltd t/a Wesbank v Minister of Finance 2002 4 SA 768 (CC) paras 76-83, where Ackermann J discussed Australian law for the purpose of deciding the property dispute at hand.
66 This section is the Australian property clause: see Van der Walt Constitutional Property Clauses 39, 41. See also the discussion in s 3.4 of Part I of this article.
67 Van der Walt Constitutional Property Clauses 43-44 and fn 31. This methodology is neatly expounded by Brennan J in Mutual Pools & Staff Pty Limited v The Commonwealth of Australia 1994 179 CLR 155 176, 178.
68 Allen Commonwealth Constitutions 176. "Just terms" may be understood as meaning "compensation" for the present purposes: see Van der Walt Constitutional Property Clauses 58-60 and compare Allen 2000 Sydney LR 369-370.
69 See s 3.4 of Part I of this article.
70 JT International SA v Commonwealth of Australia 2012 HCA 43 para 30 per French CJ; Mutual Pools & Staff Pty Limited v The Common wealth of Australia 1994 179 CLR 155 184-185 per Deane J and Gaudron J; Georgiadis v Australian and Overseas Telecommunications Corporation 1994) 179 CLR 297 304 per Mason CJ, Deane J and Gaudron J 311 per Brennan J.
71 Mutual Pools & Staff Pty Limited v The Commonweatth of Australia 1994 179 CLR 155 171 per Mason CJ and 179-180 per Brennan J.
72 Van der Walt Constttutional Property Law 348.
73 Mutual Pools & Staff Pty Limited v The Commonwealth of Australia 1994 179 CLR 155 171 per Mason CJ, 177-179 per Brennan J, 187 per Deane J and Gaudron J and 199-200 per Dawson J and Toohey J; Georgiadis v Australian and Overseas Telecommunications Corporation 1994 179 CLR 297 304, 306 per Mason CJ, Deane J and Gaudron J; Re Director of Public Prosecutions; Ex Parte Lawler 1994 179 CLR 270 277 per Brennan J and 291 per Dawson J. In other words, if an acquisition is explicitly authorised under another federal power which does not provide for acquisition in terms of s 51(xxxi), the just terms guarantee does not apply.
74 Mutual Pools & Staff Pty Limited v The Commonwealth of Australia 1994 179 CLR 155 170-171 per Mason CJ, 178 per Brennan J and 186-187 per Deane J and Brennan J; Trade Practices Commission v Tooth & Co Limited 1979 142 CLR 379 453-454 per Aickin J; Australian Tape Manufacturers Association Ltd v The Commonwealth of Australia 1993 177 CLR 480 509-510 per Mason CJ, Brennan J, Deane J and Gaudron J; Georgiadis v Australian and Overseas Telecommunications Corporation 1994 179 CLR 297 306 per Mason CJ, Deane J and Gaudron J; Re Director of Public Prosecutions; Ex Parte Laweer 1994 179 CLR 270 284 per Deane J and Gaudron J. See also Allen Commonwealth Constitutions 177.
75 Allen Commonwealth Constitutions 176 fn 43. It is not necessary to multiply examples, but another head of power outside s 51(xxxi) is s 51(xviii), which concerns "copyrights, patents of inventions and designs, and trade marks". For a judgment that concerned this head of power, see Nintendo Co Ltd v Centronics Systems Pty Ltd 1994 HCA 27.
76 Re Director of Public Prosecutions; Ex Parte Lawler 1994 179 CLR 270; Mutual Pools & Staff Pty Limited v The Commonwealth of Australia 1994 179 CLR 155 170 per Mason CJ, 178 per Brennan J and 186-188 per Deane J and Gaudron J; Australian Tape Manufacturers Association Ltd v The Commonwealth of Australia 1993 177 CLR 480 509-510 per Mason CJ, Brennan J, Deane J and Gaudron J; Georgiadis v Australian and Overseas Telecommunications Corporation 1994 179 CLR 297 306 per Mason CJ, Deane J and Gaudron J; Attorney-General (Cth) v Schmidt 1961 105 CLR 361 372 per Dixon CJ.
77 Re Director of Public Prosecutions; Ex Parte Lawler 1994 179 CLR 270. The principles laid down in this case were confirmed in Theophanous v The Commonwealth 2006 225 CLR 101.
78 Re Director of Public Prosecutions; Ex Parte Lawler 1994 179 CLR 270 276 per Mason CJ, 277-278, 280-281 per Brennan J and 288-290 per Dawson J. See also Mutual Pools & Staff Pty Limited v The Commonwealth of Australia 1994 179 CLR 155 170 per Mason CJ, 187 per Deane J and Gaudron J and 199-200 per Dawson J and Toohey J; Attorney-General (Cth) v Schmidt 1961 105 CLR 361 372-373 per Dixon CJ; Theophanous v The Commonwealth 2006 225 CLR 101 114-115 per Gleeson CJ. Allen Commonwealth Constitutions 176-179 thinks this finding accords with what Sax 1964 Yale LJ 62-36 describes as the state's "arbitral capacity," which allows it to limit (or even extinguish) property values for purposes of protecting public health and safety, and to settle civil disputes without having to pay compensation. See further the discussion in s 2.3 below.
79 Re Director of Public Prosecutions; Ex Parte Laweer 1994 179 CLR 270 276 per Mason CJ, 280-281 per Brennan J and 294 per McHugh J. The nature of the property (a fishing boat), coupled with the difficulty of preventing illegal fishing along the Australian coastline were held to be decisive as to why the forfeiture was legitimate in this case.
80 Re Director of Public Prosecutions; Ex Parte Laweer 1994 179 CLR 270 285 per Deane J and Gaudron J and 292-293 per McHugh J. See also Theophanous v The Commonwealth 2006 225 CLR 101 114-115 per Gleeson CJ. See further Allen Commonwealth Constitutions 177.
81 This section grants the Commonwealth the power to make laws with respect to "fisheries in Australian waters beyond territorial limits".
82 Allen Commonwealth Constitutions 178-179. See also Re Director of Public Prosecutions; Ex Parte Lawler 1994 179 CLR 270 278 per Brennan J; Theophanous v The Commonwealth 2006 225 CLR 101 115-116 per Gleeson CJ, 124-127 per Gummow J, Kirby J, Hayne J, Haydon J and Crennan J.
83 Mutual Pooss & Staff Pty Limited v The Commonwealth of Austraiia 1994 179 CLR 155 171 per Mason CJ, 177-178 per Brennan J and 188-189 per Deane J and Gaudron J; Re Director of Public Prosecutions; Ex Parte Lawler 1994 179 CLR 270 285-286 per Deane J and Gaudron J; Attorney-General (Cth) v Schmidt 1961 105 CLR 361 372-373 per Dixon CJ.
84 Mutual Pooss & Staff Pty Limtted v The Commonweatth of Australia 1994 179 CLR 155 179-181 per Brennan J, 199-200 per Dawson J and Toohey J; Re Director of Public Prosecutions; Ex Parte Lawler 1994 179 CLR 270 286 per Deane J and Gaudron J, 288-289 per Dawson J and 293 per McHugh J; Theophanous v The Commonwealth 2006 225 CLR 101 114-115 per Gleeson CJ. Allen Commonwealth Constitutions 176-179, relying on the theory developed by Sax 1964 Yale LJ 74-75, is of the opinion that the state is not acting in its enterprise capacity under these circumstances (and hence no compensation is required) even though the particular property interference leads to an increase in state resources. The reason for this is that the state gains a benefit which is merely incidental to the one which is obtained by all persons in society - in this instance the proscription of criminal conduct. See further the discussion in s 2.3 below.
85 Re Director of Public Prosecutions; Ex Parte Lawler 1994 179 CLR 270 281 per Brennan J, 285-286 per Deane J and Gaudron J, 290-291 per Dawson J and 293-294 per McHugh J; Mutual Pools & Staff Pty Limited v The Commonwealth of Australia 1994 179 CLR 155 179-181 per Brennan J. In Re Director of Pubiic Prosecutions; Ex Parte Lawler 1994 179 CLR 270 286 Deane J and Gaudron J held that for a law which authorises the forfeiture of property belonging to an innocent third party, it must be ascertained whether the property infringement is "reasonably capable of being seen as appropriate and adapted to achieving, or, as reasonably proportionate to some object or purpose within [one of the Commonwealth's heads of] power". Van der Walt Constitutional Property Clauses 45 thinks this entails a proportionality test for determining whether laws authorising interferences with property which do not amount to acquisition for purposes of s 51(xxxi) are constitutionally valid. Allen 2000 Sydney LR 363-364 is of the same opinion, although he states (at 269) that the proportionality test is applied "with a high level of deference" towards the judgment of the Commonwealth Parliament.
86 Georgiadis v Australian and Overseas Telecommunications Corporation 1994 179 CLR 297. The High Court found that the main aim of the impugned statute was to release the Commonwealth from its obligation to pay the debt (so as to save money) while failing to provide just terms.
87 Georgiadis v Australian and Overseas Telecommunications Corporation 1994 179 CLR 297. Allen Commonwealth Constitutions 178-179 thinks that this finding corresponds with what Sax 1964 Yale LJ 62-63 refers to as the government's "enterprise" capacity or function, which allows it to acquire (or expropriate) property for its own account, upon which compensation must be paid to the affected property holder. See further the discussion in s 2.3 below.
88 Mutual Pools & Staff Pty Limited v The Commonwealth of Australia 1994 179 CLR 155 171 per Mason CJ, 178 per Brennan J and 188-189 per Deane J and Gaudron J; Georgiadis v Australian and Overseas Telecommunications Corporation 1994 179 CLR 297 306-307 per Mason CJ, Deane and Gaudron J; Attorney-General for the Northern Terrttory v Chaffey 2007 231 CLR 651 667 per Kirby J. A similar example from South African law is Harksen v Lane 1998 1 SA 300 (CC), where Goldstone J held that the purpose of the vesting of the applicant's property in the Master or trustee was not to expropriate (or acquire) property but rather to protect the interests of the creditors to the insolvent estate: see Van der Walt Constitutional Property Law 230 fn 113, 350 fn 54.
89 Mutual Pools & Staff Pty Limited v The Commonwealth of Australia 1994 179 CLR 155.
90 Mutual Pooss & Staff Pty Limited v The Commonwealth of Australia 1994 179 CLR 155 175 per Mason CJ, 179-181 per Brennan J and 186-191 per Deane J and Gaudron J. It is debatable whether there was actually an "acquisition" of property (in the sense of the Commonwealth acquiring a proprietary benefit) in this instance: see Van der Walt Constitutional Property Clauses 65-66.
91 Mutual Pooss & Staff Pty Limtted v The Commonwealth of Australia 1994 179 CLR 155 189-190 per Deane J and Gaudron J and 171 per Mason CJ. The use of the word "regulation" here suggests that these purposes relate to the state's police power and not the power of eminent domain: see Van der Walt Constitutional Property Law 348-349; Van der Walt Constitutional Property Clauses 47. Allen Commonwealth Constitutions 174-179 thinks that this approach corresponds with Sax's description (Sax 1964 Yale LJ 62-63) of the government's "arbitral" function or capacity to resolve (ie regulate) competing claims, which - in his view - explains why the property interference at hand amounts to the deprivation of property, which does not require compensation. See further the discussion in s 2.3 below. See also Georgiadis v Australian and Overseas Telecommunications Corporation 1994 179 CLR 297 306-307 per Mason CJ, Deane J and Gaudron J; Attorney-General for the Northern Terrttory v Chaffey 2007 231 CLR 651 667 per Kirby J.
92 Mutual Pooss & Staff Pty Limited v The Commonwealth of Australia 1994 179 CLR 155 189 per Deane J and Gaudron J. Compare Reflect-All 1025 CC v MEC for Public Transport, Roads and Works, Gauteng Provincial Government 2009 6 SA 391 (CC) para 63, Pennsylvania Coal Co v Mahon 260 US 393 (1922) para 9 as well as Mugler v Kansas 123 US 623 (1887) 665. See further Van der Walt Constitutional Property Law 196-197, 354-356; Allen Commonwealth Constitutions 179-180.
93 The most cited decision on this point is Attorney-General (Cth) v Schmidt 1961 105 CLR 361.
94 Attorney-General (Cth) v Schmidt 1961 105 CLR 361 372-373 per Dixon CJ; Georgiadis v Australian and Overseas Telecommunications Corporation 1994 179 CLR 297 306 per Mason CJ, Deane J and Gaudron J; Re Director of Pubiic Prosecutions; Ex Parte Laweer 1994 179 CLR 270 284 per Deane J and Gaudron J. See also Allen Commonwealth Constitutions 176-177. In view of Australian law one could also argue that the vesting which occurs in the context of insolvency proceedings does not amount to the "acquisition" of property even in South African law, as neither the Master nor the trustee acquires the right (or entitlement) to the use the property: see Hopkins and Hofmeyr 2003 SALLJ 51 and compare the discussion surrounding fn 33 above.
95 See ss 1.2-1.4 above. Compare the finding in Lawler i n s 2.2 above, which confirms the conclusions drawn in s 1.3 as to why the expropriation inquiry should not be limited to the effect of the property infringement, as some regulatory interferences with property (such as criminal forfeiture) also result in state acquisition of property.
96 Van der Walt Constitutional Property Law 348-349.
97 Van der Walt Constitutional Property Law 196 fn 15, 348-349.
98 Allen Commonwealth Constitutions 175-179 relies on Sax 1964 Yale LJ 36-76 for the purposes of his argument. Although Sax's theory does not incorporate the deprivation-expropriation distinction directly, Allen (Allen Commonwealth Constitutions 175) thinks it is mostly consistent with this distinction.
99 Sax 1964 Yale LJ 36-76.
100 Sax 1964 Yaee LJ 69. Compare Miller v Schoene 276 US 272 (1928), where the United States Supreme Court held that it is justifiable to destroy a landowner's trees - without paying compensation - so as to prevent them from spreading a plant disease to the apple orchards of a nearby neighbour.
101 Sax 1964 Yaee LJ 63.
102 Sax 1964 Yaee LJ 62-76; Van der Walt Constitutional Property Causes 410-423.
103 Allen Commonweatth Constitutions 177-179. See further fn 84 above as well as the surrounding main text.
104 Allen Commonwealth Constitutions 176-179. See further fn 78 above as well as the surrounding main text.
105 JT International SA v Commonwealth of Australia 2012 HCA 43.
106 See the discussion of this judgment in s 3.4 of Part I of this article. Yet, it is worth emphasising that the High Court ruled that no acquisition took place on the facts before it.
107 Sax 1964 Yaee LJ 64.
108 Allen Commonwealth Constitutions 178. See further fn 87 as well as the surrounding main text.
109 Allen Commonwealth Constitutions 176-179. See also Van der Walt Constitutional Property Law 196 fn 15, 348-349.
110 Or government capacity, to use Sax's term.
111 Van der Walt Constitutional Property Law 348-349.
112 Harksen v Lane 1998 1 SA 300 (CC) paras 35-36, citing Van Schalkwyk v Die Meester 1975 2 SA 508 (N) 510. Compare the finding in Reflect-All 1025 CC v MEC for Public Transport, Roads and Works, Gauteng Provincial Government 2009 6 SA 391 (CC) para 64 in terms of this approach, where the Court held that the purpose of the impugned statute was inter alia to protect road planning processes.
113 However, in this sense the state acquisition requirement, even if only a preliminary issue, is unhelpful for establishing whether or not expropriation occurred in situations where the impugned statute authorises expropriation without the state acquiring anything in the process. See further the discussion in s 1.2 above.
114 See the discussion in s 1.2 above. This requirement is discussed more fully in s 3.2 of Part I of this article.
115 See the discussion of forfeiture-type cases in s 1.3 above.
116 Compare the position in Australian law, which is discussed in fn 85 above as well as the surrounding main text.
117 Section 1.4 above.
118 Some authors, such as Badenhorst 2014 THRHR 328-330 and Van der Vyver 2012 De Jure 125-142, think that the state custodianship model introduced by the MPRDA on its date of commencement resulted in the expropriation (or even nationalisation, according to Van der Vyver) of the common-law rights and entitlements landowners held in mineral and petroleum resources in or on their land. However, these conclusions - which again (over)emphasise the effect of the infringement - are not supported by Harksens purpose-based approach towards the expropriation question: see the discussion in the next few paragraphs below.
119 It is trite that the state did not acquire the ius disponendi, as mineral right holders could still sell their old order rights after the MPRDA came into operation. However, this was possible only with the written permission of the Minister: see s 11(1) of the MPRDA. See further the discussion in s 2.1 of Part I of this article.
120 Rautenbach 2013 TSAR 747. See also the discussion in s 1.4 above.
121 This methodology was laid down in First National Bank of SA Ltd t/a Wesbank v Commissioner, South African Revenue Service; First National Bank of SA Ltd t/a Wesbank v Minister of Finance 2002 4 SA 768 (CC) para 46. Compare the approach in Agri South Africa v Minister for Minerals and Energy 2013 4 Sa 1 (CC) paras 32-46, where the Court also first considered whether the affected interest amounted to property for the purposes of s 25.
122 National Credit Regulator v Opperman 2013 2 SA 1 (CC) para 58.
123 See Van der Walt Constitutional Property Law 119-123, 130-131; Marais 2014 SALJ 219-222 and the sources referred to there.
124 Van der Walt Constitutional Property Law 119-123, 130-131. See also Marais 2014 SALJ 219-222. Compare the reasoning in Georgiadis v Australian and Overseas Telecommunications Corporation 1994 179 CLR 297 discussed in s 3.4 of Part I of this article. However, it is worth pointing out that the applicable legislation in Georgiadis had the effect of abolishing existing claims as opposed to the MPRDA, which merely eliminated the possibility of lodging a claim in future for compensation for being forced to exploit mineral rights under the MPRDA. The fact that these future claims have not yet vested in terms of applicable legal rules and are, furthermore, not concrete, specific assets probably means that no state acquisition took place, as there was no "property" as yet.
125 Namely when the MPRDA extinguished unactivated old order rights that were not converted into new order prospecting or mining rights.
126 See the preamble of the MPRDA as well as s 2(c) and 2(h) of the Act.
127 It is worth stating that it is unclear whether the authorisation requirement would be as effective in arriving at this conclusion, especially since the Act explicitly authorises expropriation and also provides for compensation: see s 55 and Item 12(1) of Schedule II to the MPRDA.
128 Compare the position in Australian law discussed in fn 85 above.
129 Woolman and Botha "Limitations" 34-51-34-52. See, however, the concerns raised by Badenhorst and Mostert 2004 Stell LR 29.
130 First National Bank of SA Ltd t/a Wesbank v Commissioner, South African Revenue Service; First National Bank of SA Ltd t/a Wesbank v Minister of Finance 2002 4 SA 768 (CC) para 100.
131 Van der Walt Constitutional Property Law 447-448. See also Agri South Africa v Minister for Minerals and Energy 2013 4 SA 1 (CC) paras 53 (Mogoeng CJ) and 80 (Froneman J). See further Van der Vyver 2012 De Jure 138-139.
132 Van der Walt Constitutional Property Law 264-270; Van der Walt 2012 Stell LR 90-93. However, neither s 33 of the Constitution nor PAJA will find any direct application, as the deprivation caused by the MPRDA - through the extinguishment of Sebenza's unactivated mineral rights - was brought about directly by legislation and in the absence of administrative action.
133 Van der Walt Constitutional Property Law 447-448.
134 Compare Agri South Africa v Minister for Minerals and Energy 2013 4 SA 1 (CC) paras 77-78 (Cameron J) and paras 102-105 (Froneman J).

Creative Commons License All the contents of this journal, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License